The Future of Women in the Construction Industry

17th March 2014

According to a recent report by The Smith Institute, the Government needs to do more to encourage the roles of women in the construction industry; an area that is under-represented with just 11% of a general female workforce and 1% working in the manual trades on site.

The Office of National Statistics backs up this statement with a recent survey that showed the number of women working in trades such as glazing, bricklaying and roofing to be low enough to warrant the term ‘immeasurable’.

The industry as a whole, however, needs to address the problem from many angles, including the fact that many women face negativity in the workplace that is still considered in some circles to be a ‘man’s world’. Attitudes need to change industry-wide to encourage recruitment and retention in a sector that is predicted to fall short of personnel over the next ten years. With one in five construction workers nearing retirement age, and 26% aged between 45 and 55, according to the report, it is down to the industry, with support from the Government, to make a concerted effort to attract women to construction.

The executive director of Construction Youth Trust, Christine Townley said, "The industry has a great challenge, but also a great opportunity to inspire and recruit the next generation of tradesmen, tradeswomen and professionals. We recognise the best way to meet this challenge is to understand the barriers that exist and how to overcome them, so that people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to enter the industry.”

The report, commissioned by the Construction Youth Trust, reminds the industry, and encourages the Government to call for a culture change, including smarter careers advice and the lessening of gender stereotypical attitudes in schools.



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