Women in the UK construction industry
Historically the construction industry has been a male dominated industry. However, in recent years positive steps have been made to increase the number of women in construction.
We’re going to be looking at what’s going on now. We’ll observe some facts and figures from reports about women in construction and identify some stumbling blocks to progress being made.
Facts and Figures – Women in construction
The construction industry in the UK is booming. The current forecasts predict that the industry will grow at a much faster rate than the UK average. Clearly, it is an exciting time to be a part of the industry.
The predicted growth will lead to an increase in the workforce. By 2020 a quarter of the workforce is estimated to be made up of women.
Furthermore, over the past decade women’s pay has risen an average of 6% per year. However, 41% of women believe that they still earn less than men.
Having said this there has been positive growth in the number of women filling senior roles in the industry. In 2005 6% of senior roles were populated by women. By 2015 16% of senior roles were occupied by women.
Clearly there are positive strides being taken to disassociate the industry with the ‘male only’ stereotype.
Work to do
However, the work cannot stop here. Although the industry is making positive strides there is a huge amount to be done. Many women still have apprehensions about the industry.
For example, a report compiled by Randstad identified three areas that have been reasons for women leaving the industry.
Firstly, 44% of respondents stated that improved flexibility would have made the industry more attractive to them.
Secondly, 35% specified that enforcing equal pay could make them consider a career in construction again.
Finally, 23% detailed that improved sponsorship and mentoring programs are necessary for women in construction.
Evidently the construction industry is heading in the right direction. We have witnessed this ourselves with the increase in women attending our courses such as the SSSTS and the SMSTS schemes. However, there is a lot of work to be done. Changing the ‘male only’ stereotype that has existed for hundreds of years will take time and effort.
There are now many organisations that are aiming to promote gender equality in the industry. For example, Women Into
Construction are a non for profit organisation that is putting huge amounts of work in to increase the opportunities for women in the industry.
We were lucky enough to meet a representative of their organisation when we recently attended UK Construction Week. The passion that Women Into Construction have is truly inspiring. The work that they do is something that we want to promote and support and you should too!