Jobs For The Girls, And Boys
The number of women applying for construction and engineering jobs is on the rise. With 1 million extra workers needed by 2020 to fill skills gaps and satisfy demand, the need for women to enter the industry is becoming a big priority. By 2020, women are expected to make up 26% of the workforce within the construction industry across a breadth of areas which will not only help with the skills shortage but is also a great opportunity to diversify the talent pool and bring new ideas to the industry.
The old stereotype of the construction industry not being female friendly is not necessarily the case anymore. The reality is that women are increasingly entering the industry in professional roles such as structural engineers, construction managers and project managers, and this is having a positive impact on the industry as a whole.
So why is the amount of women in the construction industry increasing at such a fast pace?
Better training for students
Universities and organisations are becoming much better with their offerings in terms of qualifications, training and internships. There are a wide range of roles in the construction industry from structural engineers who will need more technical skills to project managers who need to make sure tasks get done on time and to a high standard which requires more organisational skills. The variety in skill sets needed in today’s construction and engineering industries opens up more opportunity to a wider talent pool and aren’t all seemingly tailored to men.
We’re also seeing the positive impact of a longstanding campaign to promote STEM subjects to women. Beginning in secondary schools with schemes such as promoting female role models to students studying for GCSEs, and continuing through further and higher education
Role models like Margaret Conway at McAleer and Rushe – who recently won the Chartered Institute of Building’s (CIOB) Construction Manager of the Year award – are helping to promote jobs in construction engineering to the next generation. She works with local colleges to help secure students work experience and placements, as well as organising tours and lectures about working in the industry.
Diversity of skills needed in construction
As mentioned, not all roles are of a physical nature where men are stereotypically seen as ‘stronger’. Design, engineering or organisational skills are at a premium in the industry and roles with those types of skills are vital in construction and engineering. There are so many women who have these skills and are seeing construction as an attractive career path.
Not being ‘one of the lads’ being a barrier to entry
With there being a large contingent of males in the construction industry, it is of no surprise that there can be a ‘laddish’ culture in some instances. However, the growing number of women and the diversification of cultures, religions, and sexual orientations within the industry means that culture is diminishing. Women no longer need to feel that they have to be ‘one of the lads’ to fit in and are empowered in their roles today.
Diversity in advertising of construction roles
Have you ever noticed that advertising involving construction workers is male predominant? That is changing as the industry evolves and women are being actively targeted within construction and engineering companies. Targeting within advertising has become much more sophisticated and companies can target people by skillsets on certain social media and networking sites meaning a lot more women are being served adverts for construction roles, where they may not have been targeted with more traditional methods.
General changes to views on diversity in society
Diversity is a huge topic across all working industries and society in general so it makes sense that the construction industry is looking to improve its gender diversity. The fact that Construction Week organisers banned promo girls during their event shows how serious the industry is about improving the relationship between women and the industry.
Women in Construction Summit
The Women in Construction Summit’s aim is to empower individuals and assist companies in reshaping their culture to move towards equality. The event will bring to light the diversity and wage issues and level the playing field in the industry.
With industry leading female keynote speakers, you can see discussions on solving industry challenges, participate in workshops and also network with like-minded individuals. Visit the site here.
Here at Energi People we’ve also witnessed an increase in women coming into the industry. Not only have the number of female applicants for construction and engineering jobs increased, but also our own team has become more diverse. This is a real positive as our consultants reflect this trend towards more women coming into the industry.