Why is there a lack of women in the construction industry?
In the UK, 99% of on-site construction workers are male. Within other areas of the industry, the figures are not vastly different, with only 11% of the whole industry being female. Many of these roles include desk jobs such as design, secretarial and administrative roles and management, but the fact is that fewer women than men consider construction as a career. Only 14% of engineering courses and technology-based degrees are entered by women. So what is that has caused this lack of women in the construction industry?
Perception of the construction industry
There is a longstanding perception that the construction industry is male-dominated. There is an impression that the industry is more suited to men, with women concerned that they might be treated differently because they are female, or that they need to keep their head down and pretend to be “one of the guys” in order to be successful. Whether or not this is based on true experiences, many peoples’ natural expectation is that their construction project will be led by a male manager. This is not necessarily down to a sexist view, but based on observations that the industry, as it stands, is predominantly male.
Male and female skills stereotypes
Male and female stereotypes dictate that men are often physically bigger than women and able to lift heavier weight. Although this is not always true, and women can be stronger than men, this is still stereotyped as being the case, which means that men may feel more naturally drawn to physically demanding jobs within the construction industry than women. This is just one potential reason why women may choose to work in different areas within the industry.
Advertising is targeted to men
From a young age, construction jobs are advertised in a male-centric way that targets young male workers as their main audience. It can be proposed in a way that promotes construction as a route into a “masculine” and “strong” job, that will build identity and purpose as a man. Alternatively it can be presented as a route for individuals who have struggled in society or in school that are looking to turn their life around and use their energy productively. These images are often aimed at male recipients, which means that fewer young women feel drawn into working in the construction industry than young men.
Getting involved in the construction industry
There are a number of contributing factors which mean that there is a lack of women within the construction industry, but it’s important to also consider that genuine interest plays a part in career choices. However the construction industry currently is declining in workers and recruitment for both men and women should be a priority. The RG Group proudly employs both men and women and offers equal opportunities. If you’re interested in finding out more about the opportunities that The RG Group can offer, take a look at our Careers page or give us a call today on 01732 526 850.