Three quarters of construction employers see increase in number of females entering the industry

Published:  24 February, 2015

A new poll conducted by a business insurance website has discovered that over three quarters of employers within the construction sector have witnessed an increase in the number of women working in traditionally male jobs within the past 12 months.

Furthermore, 'earning potential' and 'apprenticeship opportunities' emerged as the most popular reasons why the women polled decided on a career in construction.

As part of its ongoing research into insights and trends surrounding how and why people decide to enter the construction industry, www.constructaquote.com decided to look into the reasons an increasing number of women are choosing to enter the field.

Construction employers were initially asked if they currently employ any women in construction roles within their businesses, with just 22% revealing that they do so. Of the remaining 78% of employers, the majority (63%) said they would welcome female workers, while 38% admitted they would be cautious of how employing a female would differ to employing males, but would nonetheless give a woman a job were she the best candidate for a position.

When all employers where then asked 'have you noticed an increase in the amount of females showing an interest in, applying for or securing jobs at your company within the past year?' the vast majority of respondents (76%) said yes.

Next, a group of female construction employees were asked if they'd ever experienced prejudice or discrimination since deciding on their careers, with almost two thirds (64%) admitting they had done. When then asked if they had witnessed a noticeable increase in the amount of fellow females looking for work within the industry, the majority (62%) agreed.

In a bid to understand the reasons behind the recent surge in the amount of women interested in construction roles and trades, researchers asked female employees to choose the biggest incentive(s) behind their decisions to enter their careers. The most popular reasons emerged as follows:

1.       Earning potential associated with the industry (61%)

2.       The wide range of construction apprenticeship opportunities from local colleges/schools (43%)

3.       The industry appealed over anything else (26%)

4.       A family member/friend encouraged me to give it a go (18%)

5.       To prove women can do stereotypically 'male' jobs just as well (11%)

“As with many traditionally male-dominated professions, there is still a widely accepted assumption that jobs in construction are just not meant for females,” said Lyndon Wood, chief executive officer and creator of constructaquote.com.

“Quite frankly, I couldn't agree less with this stereotype, and would actively encourage any young women tempted by a career in the industry to go for it and change the opinions of those around you by excelling in your chosen trade. Our findings certainly show that positive steps are already being made and, hopefully as more and more women secure good jobs in the industry, the more socially recognised it will become."

He continued: "With the widely reported recent findings suggesting that there is a shortage of skills needed in the UK construction industry, it surely makes sense for employers and industry leaders to start actively encouraging women to start careers in such trades as plumbing, carpentry and painting and decorating in order to boost the industry in years to come."