More work needed to encourage women into construction, survey reveals

A new survey has revealed more than half of respondents have witnessed or experienced sexism in the construction industry as leaders call for action to attract more women into the sector.

Considerate Constructors Scheme’s survey entitled Spotlight on…women in construction was launched to boost the much-needed industry effort to attract more women into jobs with just 11% of workforce made up of women. After surveying over 1000 people, the survey found some areas of encouragement and issues that need to be tackled moving forward. 

While more than three-quarters of those surveyed said improvements had been made to encourage women into the industry, issues of sexism and changing misguided perceptions remain a challenge with 52% witnessing or experiencing sexism. 

Considerate Constructors Scheme chief executive, Edward Hardy, said: “Not only is it imperative that standards must be raised in this area, in order to help encourage more women into the industry, but a more equal and diverse workforce also brings greater collaboration, creative thinking and more inclusive workplaces. This can only be a positive step in helping to improve the image of the UK and Irish construction industries.”

Survey results:

  • 94% said the industry would benefit from employing more women
  • 79% said the industry has improved its approach to encouraging women into construction
  • 76% said there are no construction jobs which only men can do
  • 74% said there should not be quotas for hiring women into construction
  • 52% have witnessed or experienced sexism within the construction industry

Managing director for Crossrail 2, Michèle Dix, said: “Women are still underrepresented at present but I think we are starting to move in the right direction. We need to recognise the need for more flexible working arrangements, especially if we are to encourage women back after taking time off for children. I think there are lots of opportunities out there and one message I would give to my fellow women colleagues is “go for them!”. Be confident in your own abilities. The industry has so much to offer.”

The Scheme, which makes around 15,000 monitoring visits to construction sites, companies and suppliers every year, has put forward the campaign to offer steps on how best to respond. The importance of having role models within construction has been highlighted as one important measure to increase numbers.

Site manager for Higgins Construction, Victoria Betts, said: “In the time I have been working in the industry there has definitely been an increase in the amount of females working in it. The Considerate Constructors Scheme has been a big driving force in this as it insists on facilities for females that previously would not have been in place.”

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