BRIDGING THE CONSTRUCTION GENDER GAP: 7 STRATEGIES TO ATTRACT MORE WOMEN TO THE INDUSTRY
While women have made significant strides in various professional fields, the construction industry remains largely male-dominated. According to recent statistics, only 15% of construction workers are female. This glaring gender gap not only limits the industry's potential but also overlooks the diverse skills and perspectives that women can offer. To foster innovation, creativity and sustainable growth, it's imperative for construction companies to actively address and bridge this gender disparity.
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To attract more women to the construction workforce, companies must break down existing barriers and create an inclusive environment. Here are some practical tips for construction professionals and companies looking to diversify their workforce:
- Educational Outreach Programs:
Develop outreach programs in collaboration with schools and colleges to encourage young women to explore careers in construction. Providing information about the various roles within the industry and the opportunities for career growth can spark interest and challenge stereotypes.
- Promote Female Role Models:
Highlight the success stories of women who have excelled in the construction field. By showcasing female role models in leadership positions, companies can inspire aspiring women to pursue careers in construction with confidence.
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- Inclusive Hiring Practices:
Implement inclusive hiring practices that focus on skills, qualifications and potential rather than gender. Unconscious biases in recruitment processes can inadvertently exclude qualified female candidates, so it's essential to create a fair and equal hiring process.
- Provide Specific Equipment:
Ensuring access to well-fitting personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial, given that standard sizes are often tailored for men. Tools, if too heavy or cumbersome, can cause strain and repetitive strain injuries (RSI), emphasising the need for regular risk assessments and exploring alternative, more ergonomic options.
- Training and Mentorship Programs:
Establish mentorship programs that pair experienced women in the industry with newcomers. Providing training and mentorship opportunities not only facilitates skill development but also fosters a sense of belonging and support.
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- Flexible Work Arrangements:
Recognise and accommodate the unique challenges that women may face in balancing work and family life. Offering flexible work arrangements and family-friendly policies can attract and retain talented female professionals.
- Safe and Inclusive Work Environments:
Prioritise safety and create inclusive work environments that welcome diversity. A culture of respect and equality is crucial for retaining female talent in the long run.
It's time for the construction industry to embrace change and actively work towards gender diversity. By addressing the gender gap, construction companies not only unlock the full potential of their workforce but also contribute to a more inclusive and progressive industry. Diverse teams bring a wealth of perspectives, skills and ideas, contributing to a more inclusive and progressive industry.
Join us in building a more inclusive and diverse construction community at UK Construction Week London 2024, where innovation meets inclusivity. Network with like-minded industry professionals and organisations, like The National Association of Women in Construction, Women in Roofing, be part of conversations that have the potential to reshape women's roles in the construction industry.
Register for your free ticket here