Women in Construction
It’s no secret that the overall majority of construction workers are men. With women making up less than 20% of the complete workforce. A number that has, surprisingly increased in the last ten years. It’s time to promote the advantage of women in construction.
When we’re told to envisage a construction worker, there is a stereotype that instantly springs to mind of a man in a high visibility jacket with trousers lower than they should be. But this isn’t the case at all. Perhaps 20 – 30 years ago, but in an expanding technological industry this couldn’t be further from the truth.
On many construction sites, laborious jobs have been replaced with controlling lifting machinery. And many practical jobs have been replaced by technological jobs, sparking the brain versus brawn debate of what is needed in the expansive industry.
The UK itself has the lowest number of women in the construction industry, at 12.2% compared to Germany’s 15% and Sweden’s 25%. Yet half of the UK’s population are women, surely this number should be properly proportionally represented in the number of construction workers?
What Can Be Done?
To ensure that the number of women in construction continues to rise and to allow women to be proportionally represented, we need to go back to where it starts: school. Not only is there more than 10% less girls taking STEM subjects than boys, many are not encouraged to take up apprenticeships when school finishes.
As a sector, we need to promote the positives of the industry and encourage young women to take an active role in looking into the construction industry as an option for future progression. It’s about removing the negative stereotype and inviting women to become a part of a constantly innovating and growing industry.
But this isn’t just the women who are missing out, the construction industry needs to hire a total of 200,000 workers in order to keep up with the demand for construction workers. It is clear that to meet the skills gap and see people succeed, we need to get a lot more men and women on board at an early stage.
There are numerous campaigns both government and non-government that are encouraging women to take up construction jobs. If you want to make a difference and hire more women in your business, it may be worth going into your local school and offering to talk to students about the opportunities that are available to men and women.