Posted 17/04/2019 by Emma Blair

As of 2016, only 14% of the construction industry is accounted for by women and only 11% in Engineering.


Although there are more women in the construction and engineering industry than 20 years ago, it has barely increased since the recession.


Schools, universities, and colleges have put in the effort through different resources to build up the awareness for young girls to be interested in STEM and Construction courses. However, there’s still a long way to go before we can say that there is equality in the construction and engineering sector.


Now that we have the resources and are putting them into place, the interest needs to peak. Housebuilder Keepmoat released a report that showed only 13% of women aged 16-25 would consider a career in construction. So what's the reason for this?


Public image and pay seem to be the biggest factors.


The “traditional” feel that the construction and engineering industry still holds can skew what people think working in the industry really means. Images of bricklayers and chauvinism might spring to mind despite numerous attempts to evolve over recent years.


That being said, it is slowly beginning to change. Our director Mario sat down with the Associate Director and Head of Sustainability @ Cundall, Mariana Trusson who mentioned that she believes the rise in the number of women in engineering is due to recent changes in education and perception within the industry. Which can only be seen as a step in the right direction.


Public image and reputation aside, the gender pay gap poses a much stronger threat to stalling any advancements already made. Reports released just a couple of days ago by Construction News reveal that women in construction are still earning an average of 30% less than their male counterparts. Making it one of the worst gender pay gaps in the UK.


On the civil side, HS2 promoter HS2 Ltd reported a median gender pay gap of 28% for 2018/19, meanwhile, Crossrail pay gap actually increased from last year by 1.3%.


Will this report result in positive action? the response from some contractors would assume, yes. Companies such as Lendlease are looking to increase their senior female representation and the number of females they recruit into their graduate schemes. 

The statistics released from this report really speak for themselves and it's disappointing. Will we start to see a dramatic change in the next couple of years?


What’s your thoughts on this?


I always struggle to see why the lack of females in an industry is seen as inequality or a problem that needs to be fixed, we could pull the same statistics for males in the health and beauty industry yet this would never be seen as an issue. The majority of girls/females simply do not want to work in the construction industry or Engineering sectors in the same way most boys/males do not want to work in the health and beauty sector, nothing about this is sexist or inequality it is simply genetics, there is nothing stopping either sex going into either field. In regards to the pay gap, how can this come as any surprise? Again this is nothing to do with sexism or inequality. Senior management roles are going to be filled with the most experienced, best qualified persons for the job, these roles are also the highest paid in both construction and engineering sectors. With only a handful or two of these positions available within a company of potentially thousands of employees it's difficult for anyone to fill them, when you take the percentage of females in both industries this becomes even less likely for a woman to fill one of these positions. So when we look at the pay gap we could have woman in perfectly acceptably paid positions lower down the company stacked up against male dominant senior positions which paints a foggy picture around the 'gap'. There would also be a pay gap between 18-25 year old males within a company and 45-60 year old males but again this isn't seen as an issue because it is clear to see that this is down to experience and not some form of discrimination which is always applied to female cases. I fear this push to have females in an industry is actually a negative, companies are feeling a pressure to employ females not based on their merit or qualifications but simply because they are female and do not want to be seen as sexist, this results in straight up inequality as we have people actually being employed based on their gender.
Posted on April 30, 2019 by Louis

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