Making up around 14% of the industry’s workforce, women are underrepresented in construction.
Of course, the simple solution is to get more women into the industry, but change is never that easy.
It wouldn’t be rewarding or substantial if it was. So, what contributes to this issue and how do we overcome it?
A study carried out by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) reported that about a third of women said a fear of a male dominated environment held them back from considering and pursuing a career in construction. A combination of biases against a visibly male-dominated industry deters women, who may otherwise be interested in a career in property and construction, from recognising the opportunities available to them. Likewise, the lack of visibility of women in construction does little to reassure prospective employees that a progressive career in construction is something that they can achieve.
We are proud to occupy a space within our industry that is both inspirational and aspirational. As one of very few businesses whose
Co-Director is a woman, and whose experience and expertise is vast, we are leading the industry by example, offering inspiration to young professionals who are looking for confirmation that the construction would welcome them. It is imperative that businesses within construction actively create the same kind of supportive space within their workforce to champion change.
Research and community initiatives are great ways to help with this, not only because they encourage the end goal, but because they provide useful resources that help to achieve them. The Smith Institute’s publication “Building the Future: Women in Construction” is an incredible resource that covers issues from equality and opportunity in construction to the ways in which women in construction can be empowered. This research is just one example. There is no shortage of resources available to learn from; we just need to look for them.
Evolution in any form is a slow process. Despite the speed at which it occurs, it is inevitable. It is as Sophie Smith, a Building Surveyor interviewed for an article in Huffington Post about diversity in Construction, says, “the work we’re doing now might take years to have an effect”, but at least it will have an effect.