It is a fact that 99% of construction workers are male. The gender diversity in the construction industry is extremely poor and the UK has one of the lowest rates in Europe. Despite campaigns such as Women in Construction Week to try and highlight the construction industry as a career choice, the increase in the numbers of women in construction is almost stagnant. 
 
Construction is one of the largest industries in the UK, which is thriving and has mass shortages of qualified workers, so this makes these facts even more shocking. So, what is the main reason that the female construction sector isn't’t growing inline with the need for more construction workers? 
 
A recent survey to women aged 16-25 cited that the main reason for not selecting a career in construction was the fact it was so male dominated and this for them felt intimidating. 
 
Clearly there needs to be more done to unite the industry and raise awareness of this issue. If more young women were encouraged into the sector this would of course increase the male to female ratio. But with an industry so heavily dominated by men is this possible and what can be done? 
 
Construction companies themselves need to get behind or create their own schemes which encourage females to take a construction career path. Several companies have taken this initiative including The Guinness Partnership, Crossrail, BuildLondon, Tideway and HS2. Many are offering schemes with free workshops, training and providing positive role models to encourage females into construction. This needs to increase dramatically as the more companies that are involved will of course increase the number of female construction workers. 
Women into Construction are working hard to raise this issue and are responsible for supporting females into construction. 
This is an independent not-for-profit organisation that promotes gender equality in construction. Offering bespoke support to women wishing to work in the construction industry, and assist contractors to recruit highly motivated, trained women, helping to reduce skills gaps and create a more gender-equal work force. Their vision is to be the construction industry’s organisation of choice for women and contractors, and to change the face of construction, normalising the position of women in the construction industry. 
 
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, launched the ‘Not Just for the Boys’ campaign with Women into Construction in February 2015. In the 3-year period since its launch this scheme has given more than 700 women employment advice, over 500 women construction related training, and brokering 225 women into employment. This is a major breakthrough and proves with the right support changes can be made. 
Society needs to change its views as females are not born with the view that building is for boys, it is our current way of raising children leads them to believe that. Changes in the perception of the building trade needs to start with children. It could be argued that leaving the discussions about trades careers until 15 is too late and that the mindset around this career is already largely fixed by this point. 
Plain Talking HR is committed to supporting construction employ more women, it’s a cause we believe is well worth championing. 
 
To read more information on a recent detailed report by The Smith Institute Think Tank which discusses the future of women in construction click here to visit this link  
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