Women in Construction
It is fair to say that women have overcome a lot of challenges throughout the years, fighting for equal rights, equal pay and against the stereotype that they belong in the kitchen. Whilst gender equality has made great upward progress, there are still some cracks in the foundation, including the numbers of women working in construction.
Reports showed that older men were being over relied on in construction and with an estimate of 700,000 more people needed to fill jobs, it’s now ever more urgent to recruit more women and young people into the industry to prevent a workplace crisis in the UK.
Currently, approximately half of the world’s workforce is female, but according to Forbes, it is estimated that only 24% of senior business roles are held by women. In the UK construction industry the imbalance is huge – just 11% of all employees are female and only a small portion of women have manual trade jobs. Why is this?
When a survey was carried out on London’s Oxford Street in 2005, asking 50 women ‘Do you want a job in construction?’, well over half of them said ‘no’. When asked to choose words to describe why, ‘dangerous’ and ‘macho’ were among the highest. It therefore seems the traditionally masculine elements of the industry are putting some women off.
However, the nature of work within the building industry is changing. The CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) found that the modern construction industry actually relies less on physical strength and more on brainpower and ideas. The industry employs around 14.1 million people in Europe and can offer challenging roles with good career progression, so CITB focus on working with schools to promote this path from a young age, especially aiming to dispel the masculine stereotype of the industry in order to attract girls.
Efforts are also being made to correct the gender imbalance across the entire UK workforce. As of 2016, all publicly listed companies have to enforce a 30% female quota within their management boards. If one of these companies is unable to find an appropriate female candidate for a position, this seat must remain vacant until a suitable woman is found.
The future therefore looks hopeful, so we should see more women in the building industry. With the right promotion and education, more women will be encouraged to take up challenging and exciting construction roles. At Classic Folios we will keep an eye on the trend and report any new developments in this area.