According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) between July and December 2020, 2.17m people were employed in the construction industry. However, of those only just over 10% were women, and this figure decreases to only 1% when you look at the number of women in front line positions.
There are a number of factors that potentially contribute to this significant gender gap, including a lack of adequate and appropriate signposting and training. In some instances, this unfortunately can be due to a deep-rooted gender bias.
However, there is a growing recognition of the skill set women can bring to industry, and it is heartening to see that increasingly companies are looking to recruit more women to the team – and in all positions, not just office-based.
Starting the journey
There is still a lot of work to be done to redress the balance; from changing the culture through to improving the training programmes and signposting the opportunities for women in construction.
Leading the way forward
One organisation that is helping to address some of the issues is Women into Construction. This is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that promotes gender equality in the construction industry.
The organisation provides bespoke support to women who express an interest in working in the sector, and assists contractors in recruiting highly motivated, trained women. This ultimately helps reduce the skills gap and starts to create a more gender-equal workforce.
The organisation has already had a significant impact and in September 2018 it carried out an independent social return on investment analysis (SROI) of its most recent CITB funded project – Changing the Face of Construction, which showed for every £1 invested, £5.66 of social value was generated. The research also showed that 100% of women who secured employment stated they would not have been able to secure a job in the construction industry without Women into Construction.
Supporting women to build on construction career success
At The Forshaw Group, we are committed to playing our part in increasing diversity in the workplace by constantly promoting gender equality both internally and externally of our company. We are also continually looking for opportunities to encourage more women to choose a career in the construction industry.
We have recently partnered with Sysco Business Skills Academy to deliver apprenticeships for the next 18 months for five of our female members of staff to enhance their careers within the business. One of these women, Mollie Murray, will be conducting her apprenticeship training with our Restoration team, to deliver essential repair services to homes and businesses across the UK.
To further our ethos of supporting women in business and construction, we will continue to provide these opportunities through our ongoing apprenticeship partnerships.