The construction industry has been a male-dominated field for decades. However, with changing times and the need for diversity and inclusivity, the industry is gradually moving towards greater gender balance. While there has been a slow but steady increase in the number of women in construction, it still remains a largely untapped resource.
The proportion of women in the construction industry, however, is not changing fast enough. In fact, according to Autodesk, only 7% of line executive positions in the construction sector are held by women and only 14% of females have had a career in construction, a figure which is more than double for males. These statistics show that, despite significant improvements made in the industry, female representation still has a very long way to go.
As we celebrate women’s history month, we take a look at the value women bring to the construction industry, how organisations can encourage more female representation among their workforce, and how women can best align their skills and aspirations to succeed amidst the industry.
It has repeatedly been proven that organisations with greater diversity bring in more revenue compared to those that do not embrace it in the workforce. High-gender-diversity companies deliver better returns and have outperformed, on average, less diverse companies over the past five years.
A report from McKinsey reports that highly gender-diverse companies are 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability than their less-diverse counterparts, further reinforcing the value and importance of diversity in the workplace. Businesses that not only hire but also manage to retain more women put themselves in a position to gain a competitive advantage, a benefit that extends to all stakeholders.
In addition to financial success, companies that create and shape gender-diverse workplaces gain access to a much wider talent pool from which to recruit, develop and grow. Women make up half of the global population and bring a wealth of skills, knowledge and attributes that can prove pivotal in the long-term success of businesses.
Furthermore, work environments that are both diverse and inclusive gain the additional advantage of different approaches, perspectives and life experiences that organisations can utilise to embed into their products and services. A multiplicity of perspectives can help in sparking creativity and innovation, helping businesses to identify new opportunities and challenge traditional gender stereotypes simultaneously.
Evercam is a good example of an organization that has made a concerted effort to hire women from a range of backgrounds and careers, recognizing the value that diversity brings to their team. We have women from diverse backgrounds across the world who have brought new perspectives and ideas to the table.
Two of the biggest obstacles for women in construction are a lack of mentors and a limited number of female role models. An absence of support within the sector can have an impact on gender diversity as it can cause uncertainty for those who are interested in entering the industry.
If companies actively celebrate their female construction leaders, it will encourage more girls to pursue their interests and careers, therefore increasing the hiring pool diversity. It is important that young girls have strong role models of other successful women in STEM to demonstrate that they have the opportunity to succeed within this industry too.
As well as this, ensuring that women are in influential positions also means that they can engage their male counterparts on the topic of gender equality.
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