Traditionally, there are more men present in the construction industry.
Due to the macho culture of working in construction and the fact that advertisement tends to be aimed at men, it’s difficult for any woman to confidently become a part of that industry. With lack of information, it becomes a challenge for girls to even find an interest in a career in construction. Schools aren’t offering unisex career advice, therefore, construction and engineering aren’t being promoted as much as they should be to young girls. A survey showed that only 29% of women (out of 1,000) had been given advice in a career in construction, compared to 40% of men. Hopefully these numbers will change as the years go on. STEM ambassadors are going to schools around the country to talk about the industry. Hopefully this will encourage more girls to become interested in construction.
Of course, there are other issues which can dissuade women from joining the industry. The gender pay gap. On average women are paid £8.04 compared to men who are paid £14.74 (March 2017). However, there are companies that wish to close that gap which benefits women working in construction.
Other issues women face are the barriers that happen after having children. It can be difficult to re-enter the workplace as balancing childcare and working long hours can be a challenge for many. However, schemes have been introduced to attract people after they have had a long break from work.
Is this changing?
There are some positives for women working in the construction industry. For example, from October 2017, shared parental leave has been introduced. Senior female representation has increased from 24% to 29%, and is now being targeted to increase to 33%. When Glasshouse Gardens were being built, 10% of onsite construction workers were female. This is encouraging when compared to the 1% of workers on most onsite teams. It is clear that progress is being made, which will hopefully result in more women feeling inclined to join the construction industry.