Women make up only 14% of the UK construction industry right now. Although this is a rise from the 11% noted in 2015, it’s not much of an improvement. When so many other sectors have improved, what is it about the construction industry that stops women from joining, and why does it matter?

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Why does it matter?

Women make up roughly 50% of the population, so that’s a lot of people who are excluded from the workforce when it comes to construction. In addition, a more diverse workforce performs far better than the alternative. Men and women bring different things to the party. A better-performing workforce has a beneficial impact on profits. This is not just a UK problem; the US and Australia have similar problems, seemingly for similar reasons.

Why don’t more women join?

Part of the problem is that there is still a culture of sexism in the industry that other sectors have managed to eradicate. No one pretends it’s easy to deal with sexism in the workplace. It’s a slow and painful process, but it is something that needs to be addressed.

Another reason may well be that the industry hasn’t done the work on changing perceptions that other industries have done. There are few female role models in the construction industry, and we all know how important role models are for changing the diversity of any industry. There are many construction companies Manchester based that are working on this. Companies such as https://www.piggottandwhitfield.co.uk/services/ realise how important it is and are trying hard to change the situation.

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There is hope

The Guardian reports that women in construction are going into schools regularly to explain the types of jobs available. More women are starting to go into the industry now, so although progress may be slow, it is moving forward.

Millennials of both sexes care about diversity. Their attitude towards diversity is quite different from earlier generations. They want a more diverse workforce, no matter what industry they happen to be working in. More apprenticeships, changing the culture, ensuring that any complaints of discrimination are dealt with at an early stage, and female role models will help to create a more inclusive culture and will hopefully increase the number of women who are working in construction.