Women In Construction:

The Underestimated Workforce that Drives Change

 

Increased female participation in the construction industry is necessary to fill a labor shortage and promote equality and efficiency. Companies with greater diversity have higher profitability than others. Why is that? What can we do to encourage more women to join? Find out more!

Just as the world around us is constantly changing, so is our society. Modernisation, new technologies and innovations are paving the way for a better future, not only in the tools we use but also in the way we live and interact with each other. Our society is more modern now, with increased awareness of socially important matters. One may think, “The future is upon us! The future is already here!” - is it?

Despite women’s progress in political or educational achievements over the past years, this same progress has not been matched in other areas of life in a significant way. Some professions are still very clearly gender-segregated, presenting unequal options for individuals. The construction industry is no stranger to this case, as it is still dominated by one gender. The situation is progressing as some countries have experienced a slight increase in female-held positions, but the vast majority still falls under one alarming statistic showing only 9-13% of women representation in construction.

Why is diversity in a workplace relevant?

  • 01

    Higher Employee Engagement
    Diversity in a workplace ensures a higher sense of inclusiveness for your employees, builds trust and loyalty.

  • 02

    Variety of Different Perspectives
    It gives companies access to a wider range of talent, which is especially important in times of labour and skill shortages!

  • 03

    Higher Innovation & Faster Problem Solving
    It broadens people’s views, encourages new ways of looking at problems, and offers a wider exchange of ideas - all of which is a driver for innovation!

The most gender-diverse companies are 25% more likely to achieve above-average profitability than companies with less diversity. Women are important because they are likely to improve efficiency and the work environment of the industry!

So why is the construction industry still so dominated by the male gender?
Why is change so slow and what actions can impact this?
There is no one thing that contributes to the lack of women in this profession. Rather, it’s a set of factors that together forged the reality we face today. Women rarely see the construction industry as a favourable career path. Why?

  • Lack of sufficient education and promotion from apprenticeship programs and universities

  • Limited representation and campaigns encouraging young women to consider this field

  • Recruitment bias

  • Harmful stereotypes portraying strong, masculine male as a symbol of this profession

These are just a few reasons, but the problem runs deep in the industry. A survey of the UK construction industry conducted in 2017 found that 73% of female engineers have experienced sexual discrimination, harassment or victimization at work at some point in their careers. Despite all these barriers, women continue to build their path in the industry. So what can be done to support them and improve the situation for them?


How Can We Encourage Women to Join the Construction Industry?

Thankfully, just as the industry is modernising and embracing innovations, it is also realising how women are beneficial to the workforce. This is the first step towards a better future. But how can the industry further encourage women to join?

  • Apprenticeship Programs
    Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly prevalent and provide the opportunity to train a new generation of skilled specialists in the best way. This is a great opportunity for workers wishing to join the industry to both learn and get familiar with the trade.

  • Comprehensive Trainings
    We live in a time of high skill and labor shortages in the construction industry. One of the ways we can deal with this is to offer extensive training to entering employees. This way, senior workers can educate less experienced colleagues. This is great for women entering the workforce!

  • Encouragement Initiatives & Mentoring
    Representation is important in all areas of life. It’s crucial to constantly organise support initiatives that encourage women to consider the construction industry as their career path. Campaigns, like #EmpowerByExample, offer them an opportunity to hear real-life stories from other (successful!) women working in the industry. Continuous advocacy builds trust and the belief that those trades are a favourable opportunity!

  • Career Advancement Plan
    Every employee needs to know how the career path may look for them. It is a cornerstone ensuring they understand their goals and are motivated to achieve them. Setting a very clear development path for female employees makes them feel valued and builds loyalty.

  • Leadership Trainings
    Only 13% of construction companies are owned by women. But there was a significant growth registered of 64% in women owners from 2014 to 2019. This shows that the situation is progressing! The industry should support this change by organising leadership training. While all employees can benefit from this, women will, especially as it is reported that one of the blockers for women to progress to higher positions is in the area of leadership skills. This doesn’t mean women lack leadership skills, it means that the way others perceive leadership needs to change and discrimination needs to end.

We are proudly supporting women in joining the industry by sharing inspiring stories of other women in construction who are building successful careers in this industry. We recently shared an interview article with Monika Lipińska who talked about her career as Space Architect at NASA [read here].

Follow our blog updates for more inspiring stories about women!

 
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2024-04-16 01:48:39