Call to build female presence in construction sector

There has been a call to grow the number of women in the construction sector after a survey has found that only about ten per cent of workers in the field are female.

Only 13% of women would consider a career in construction, according to the Keepmoat survey. Picture: Michael Gillen
Only 13% of women would consider a career in construction, according to the Keepmoat survey. Picture: Michael Gillen

The findings come on the eve of International Women’s Day, with Keepmoat, a partnership home builder and regeneration specialist, saying it commissioned the research to look at the gender imbalance in the trade.

It found that of those interviewed, only 13 per cent of females said they would consider a career in the industry, compared to 21 per cent of men. Nearly half of female respondents said limitations for women to progress was key to that decision.

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Dave Sheridan, chief executive of Keepmoat, said: “It’s concerning that in 2017, nearly a third of women still view a career in construction as hard hats, digging or bricklaying.

“Yes, that’s a major part of the production – and one which we still encourage women to consider – but there are endless opportunities in design, land and planning, surveying, sales, business development or marketing; the list goes on.”

Keepmoat also said that 56 per cent of females interviewed were surprised to learn that the industry employs a significant number of women at top levels.

Additionally, after hearing of the opportunities available, about 80 per cent of respondents in Scotland agreed that the industry needs to do more to highlight its benefits, while more than a third said they were now more interested in a career in construction.

Sheridan said: “We as an industry need to come together to change dated perceptions and ensure we have a thriving and diverse workforce that can deliver the new homes and infrastructure our country so desperately needs.”

• Salaries and job vacancies in Scotland jumped last month, although job applications fell after the New Year rush, new data has found.

Job site CV-Library said pay packets north of the Border increased by 3 per cent in February from 12 months previously, and above the national inflation rate of 1.8 per cent in the period. In Glasgow, pay was up by 2.5 per cent and Edinburgh 9.5 per cent, while Scotland also was one of the few locations to see a month-on-month hike in pay at 3.6 per cent. Scottish job vacancies rose by 10.8 per cent, with the biggest jump in Glasgow at 20.8 per cent, but all in all applications showed a year-on-year drop of 10.6 per cent.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, said it was great to see the Scottish job market growing at “such an impressive rate”, adding that generous pay packages are “one tactic that companies are using to stay one step ahead of their competition”.