Woman in Construction role

Construction has long been viewed as male-centric and decidedly unfriendly to females. But, at a time when the industry is growing and instantaneously facing a skill shortage, huge efforts need to be made to support women joining the construction industry. Changing the stereotypes associated with construction workers and giving women new opportunities to look at to build their careers are the first steps towards a positive outcome.

Number of new recruits required for construction 2019-2023

Source: citb.co.uk

What percentage of construction workers are female?

According to Go Construct Statistics women remain under-represented in the trade professions with data indicating that women in construction only make up 14% of all jobs – a number that has remained relatively stagnant since the 90s. 

There are several factors for this, including:

Common Construction Myths

  • Construction is just “jobs for the boys”
    Myth buster: Over 32,000 women in the UK work in construction
  • Working in construction means working out in the cold
    Myth buster: Working in construction doesn’t just mean working ‘live’ on site, it can also involve working in a range of locations such as an office, working from home or even in a workshop.
  • You need to be strong to work in construction
    Myth buster: Not all roles in the industry include forms of physical activity and most of the time it includes using your brain. Take for example a Quantity Surveyor.

Made for Men

Men have historically made up the vast majority of the trade workforce, and this is still being reflected in the working environment today. Take for example toilet facilities. Some sights are yet to provide female toilets, in addition to using male-orientated signs – “Warning Men Working Overhead” or “Danger Men at Work”. 

As well as on-site factors, the way some jobs are structured means some firms might not offer maternity or flexible working – a key incentive for attracting and retaining women workers. 

Benefits of a Diverse Workforce

Although a gender-balanced working environment isn’t a reality in the construction industry just yet, there are numerous reasons we need to work towards it. Performance is a major one, with McKinsey revealing that a more gender-diverse workforce is 25% more likely to achieve above-average profitability. Heavily contributing to this is the fact women and men think differently, so companies can benefit from having fresh outlooks and perspectives to help form strategies. 

From a brand perspective, gender diversity will have a positive impact on the company’s reputation by presenting it as a desirable place to work. It also helps to attract top talent from a wide range of pools.

Benefits of Working in Construction

Trades offer Higher Earning Potential

Regardless of industry, women have the potential to earn far more as trade employees than in traditionally female-dominated professions. Totaljobs reports an annual salary of £47,500 for construction workers, compared to just £23,000 for those who hold Administrator positions.

Affordable Education

Higher education such as college or university is not for everyone. Instead, learning a trade can be a better way for individuals to get on the career path. It’s a cheaper alternative.

Women in Construction Week 2022 is this week (March 6-12th), so let’s get involved and help pave the way for women in construction.

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