Construction Manager of the Year Award has no entries from women

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has put out a list of 86 finalists for the 2016 Construction Manager of the Year Awards (CMYA), all of which are men, with not one woman applicant.

Put forth in August prior to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) release of new gender wage gap data, this draws even more attention to the problem of a lack of diversity in the workplace.

Diversity has long been an issue in the construction, building, infrastructure and engineering sectors, with gender currently being addressed with fervour by companies and industry leaders. However, with regard to gender the industry has a long way to go. 

Despite increased efforts in 2016 to attract diverse applicants to the awards, no women entered to be considered for the 2016 Construction Manager of the Year. While the awards have seen female finalists in the past, it is no surprise that the majority of finalists are men as the vast majority of construction managers working on site are men. Yet the news that not a single woman applied, has created a degree of shock across the industry.

Construction Manager Magazine, Magazine of CIOB said: "with the number of initiatives and groups now running across the industry, it would be hoped that numbers entering such awards, and in general entering and staying in construction, should be rising.”

Tim Shaw, who leads Korn Ferry’s infrastructure, construction and services practice for EMEA, said: “The engineering and construction industry evidently has some exceptional talent judging by the contenders for the 2016 CMYA. However, it is disappointing that an awards ceremony that highlights future industry leaders has no female representation.

“Whilst there are a number of positive sector initiatives to enhance diversity and inclusion, the industry must reaffirm its commitment from the top down. It needs to further highlight it offers an interesting, exciting, diverse and attractive career proposition for individuals of all backgrounds. Leaders need to create cultures, organisational structures and development support to allow all to thrive, regardless of gender or background," Shaw said.

As well as the lack of women entrants in these awards, we also have new data from the IFS showing that in the UK women's salaries are on average 18% less than men, with the gender wage gap increasing for 12 years after the birth of a woman’s first child. 

These figures reinforced Glassdoor Economic Research’s May 2016 study that ranked the UK 11 out of 18 countries, showing that working mothers in the UK were most likely to feel gender bias in the workplace. Globally, the World Economic Forum ranked the UK as 18 out of 145 countries for gender equality, with the largest disparities seen in the pay, senior leadership positions, and governmental positions.

There are many dilemmas facing the industry on how to address diversity, not just for gender but for other protected statuses, such as ethnicity, sexuality, disabilities, religion and many more. Chief among them is how to ensure diversity while not fragmenting the workforce or creating a sense of tokenism. 

ACE’s report, Diversity and Inclusion – marginal or mandatory, addresses those dilemmas, with a key suggestion of focusing on inclusivity as well as providing support for diverse groups, to foster an environment that everyone is unique and welcomed in the workplace. 

While the finalists of the 2016 Construction Manager of the Year Awards are to be celebrated for their wide range of industry accomplishments, the lack of female applicants amidst news of continued UK gender inequality serves as a stark reminder that the industry as well as the UK as a whole has yet to find the solution to achieving greater diversity and workplace inclusivity. 

Click here for details of the 86 finalists for the 2016 Construction Manager of the Year Awards.

Find out more about ACE’s work around diversity and inclusion here.