Women in Construction
Women in the construction industry can come up against a number of barriers in their career. From the very start of their careers the lack of knowledge in the education sector can lead to women and girls being steered away from the construction industry or not even being offered construction as an option.
In the report published by Randstad in 2022 it was stated that out of the women surveyed 89% have experienced perceived gender discrimination. It also goes on to highlight that many of the women have a lack of access to training – a staggering 52%. With 49% stating that they were unaware of any training offered by their company to transition them to senior leadership roles. There were also a number of other issues such as sexual harassment, being excluded from social events where decisions were made (for women in senior positions). It was also commented that there were a lack of female role models within the construction industry. However, the amount of female construction workers who have never had a female boss had dropped from 52% in 2018 to 38% in 2022.
There are a number of factors that come into the lack of females in the industry and also retaining the ones that we already have. There is an importance on creating an inclusive environment for women. It can be common for women to not have access to suitable maternity PPE (with it being common practice to just wear larger items which aren’t really suitable). It’s also common for women to turn up to site and not have access to toilet facilities.
There is also a lack of education in schools and further education around the construction industry being an option for girls. Construction related careers should be addressed in the classroom for an early age for all students. Girls should also be encouraged into construction related apprenticeships.
Given that the CITB report we wrote about in January states that the industry will need an extra 266,000 workers by 2026 we need to do all we can to encourage women and girls into the industry and work just as hard to retain them!
Read our previous blog on the CITB report here Potential skills gaps the Construction industry will face over the next 4 years | SM:5 Developments (sm5developments.co.uk)
Why is the industry losing their female employees? The Randstad report states the main 5 reasons are:
- Childcare costs
- Male dominated culture
- Lack of flexible working arrangements
- Long hours culture
They also asked what women would like to see offered in the construction industry to entice them and they answered:
- Flexible working hours
- Better childcare options
- Equal growth opportunities between men and women
The report wasn’t all doom and gloom, it reported positively that the industry has moved on considerably in the last ten years and is becoming increasingly diverse. Encouragingly it was also report that it was felt that women brought with them diverse skills and also newer ways of looking at things.
With this in mind what small actions can you take to ensure your company is more open to women?
- There needs to be more education at an earlier age regarding the opportunities for girls in construction - link with local schools and colleges to give talks or attend jobs fairs to show that all construction roles are open to girls and women
- Take a look at your recruitment process – is it diverse?
- Assess your company culture – is it really inclusive?
- Does your company offer menopause support?
- What’s your maternity policy like?
With some small changes the industry can become more and more inclusive and allow us to invite in diverse skills and mindsets.
At SM5 Developments we want our company to have that family feel regardless of our size meaning that we hire people based on their skill set and attitude and not their gender.