Promoting equality: women in the construction industry

equality, employment, Construction...

The UK construction industry generates over £110 billion per year and contributes 7% of GDP to the UK economy.  It is approximately one quarter public sector and three quarters private sector with around 60% of construction projects being new-build and 40% maintenance and renovation projects.  With approximately 3 million jobs (10% of total UK employment), the construction industry has a massive impact on all of our lives.  Why then, are only 13% of the construction sector’s workforce, women?  Let’s take a closer look.

Challenges facing female construction workers

The construction sector is a traditionally male-dominated industry.  It can be a challenging environment for women who can sometimes face discrimination in the form of sexual harassment, pay inequality, inadequate facilities and resources, lack of opportunity and social stigma.  Because of the lack of women in the construction industry, there is also a shortage of female role models leading to a deficiency in mentorship opportunities for women seeking to advance their career in construction.

According to recent statistics, the gender pay gap in the construction industry is still one of the largest in the UK.  Figures from March 2019 suggest that men working in the construction industry were paid on average 20% more than women for doing the same job.  This is a damning statistic, highlighting the inequality facing the construction industry.  It is, however, not an entirely negative figure.  The number has fallen significantly from last year’s 36% disparity and is predicted to fall further in coming years.

Why should women pursue a career in construction?

There is a huge labour shortage across the construction industry.  With government targets to build 300,000 homes per year in England and a commitment to invest over £1 billion in training and apprenticeship programmes, now is the perfect time to embrace a career in construction.  Construction companies are also embracing gender awareness.  As a new generation of senior management take control, diversity and equal opportunities are becoming a central part of the drive for employment.

For young women entering the job market or looking for training opportunities and more mature workers seeking a career change, the construction industry looks like an excellent option.  As a woman in the construction industry you could realistically expect:

  • Wealth of opportunities – from office-based administrative, managerial, and project roles to skilled and semi-skilled manual building and engineering positions, the industry has never looked more attractive.
  • A dynamic and fast-changing environment – the increase in high-tech building design in construction including BIM (Building Information Modelling) software, robotic engineering and a plethora of new surveying and site management technology, the construction industry is an exciting place to be.
  • High potential earnings – on average, female construction workers earn 30% more than workers in traditional female-orientated roles.  This figure is likely to increase as more women follow a career in construction.

The discrepancy between male and female workers in the construction industry is far from ideal.  It is quickly progressing however, and looks set to continue in this way.  If you’re a woman who’s interested in a career in construction, at PPR recruitment we employ an equal opportunities policy and will always reward the best person with the role most suitable for them, regardless of gender.

For more information about our current vacancies or to find the perfect employee for your latest project call PPR Recruitment on 01895 80 81 88 or send us a message online.