Inspiring gender diversity (International Women’s Day)< Back to Blog

Women in construction4Today (March 8th) is International women’s Day. This year, more than ever, there’s a strong call to action for the progression of gender equality, with the #PressforProgress being used to unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be more gender inclusive.

So, where does the construction sector sit within this debate?

Well, although things are starting change, it seems there’s still a long way to go.

Despite the fact that gender diverse companies financially outperform those that are less gender diverse by 15%, the construction sector is maintaining its image of male domination. In fact, from boardroom to building site, men account for roughly 87 per cent across the industry.

So, what’s preventing women from taking up careers in construction and why does it matter?

There are several barriers and challenges which seem to be stopping women from either entering construction in the first place or progressing within the industry once they’re part of it:

  • Women in construction3The industry is not widely promoted as a viable career option to girls in schools
  • There’s a known gender pay gap between men/ women in construction of around 45%
  • A lack of flexibility creates barriers for women wishing to re-enter their role after having children
  • A culture (or perceived culture) of everyday sexism prevails
  • There’s a real lack of female role models within the industry, particularly in senior positions.

As to why this is a problem, the UK construction industry is crying out for new recruits, yet these barriers mean it’s still missing out on attracting 50% of the population!

While individual companies can do their bit by creating more agile working methods and celebrating the female role models they work with, it would seem a more concerted effort is needed if the industry is to achieve greater gender parity.

Inspire-Me_Logo_croppedResponding to this, Construction News has recently launched ‘Inspire Me’, a campaign which aims to encourage more women to enter the sector and achieve leadership roles.

Starting as they mean to go on, the campaign was given a launch party on 20th February designed to show how the construction industry might look if women made up around 50% of the workforce instead of just 13%. Guests and speakers at the event included women in construction roles as diverse as the Chief Executive of a global business to Crane Operators, Project Managers to Health and Safety professionals.

Back at Sheriff Construction, our Managing Director, Ekrem Mahmutaj, commented:

“While fulfilling our contracts with leading contractors across London and the South East of England, we work with many highly skilled and professional women. Although we rarely get women apply directly to us for work, Sheriff is committed to being a diverse company and would welcome the opportunity to have more female operatives join us. Given the struggles the sector is facing around skills gaps and the proven advantages of greater gender diversity, the ‘Inspire Me’ campaign is a great way forward for the industry.”

If you’re a woman looking for an opportunity with a small but growing construction company, contact us for an informal discussion about any suitable vacancies.