Women in Construction

It is no secret that the construction industry is dominated by men. It is no surprise when even the word construction conjures up masculine connotations, and disturbing news such as “women are paid up to a third less than men in construction” which cnplus.co.uk, a construction news website, reported on this year. The industry can be a difficult one to break into for a woman, and even then women can feel not as vital as their male counterpart, evident by their pay packet.

What is being done for women in construction?

This month it has been announced that Laing O’Rourke, a multinational construction company founded in 1978, will be offering 30% of their apprenticeships and 40% of their undergraduate sponsorships to women by 2016. They will also be offering 1000 volunteer days to encourage people from all walks of life to consider a career in construction.
Schemes have been put in place this year to encourage younger people to engage in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) courses. These are often being aimed at women as although 150,000 boys and girls take physics at GCSE, the number drastically decreases as they reach A-Level, with only 15,000 boys studying physics and only 7,000 girls.

Anna Stewart, the chief executive of Laing O’Rourke says these schemes “will have a transformational effect on the way we respond to the challenges of a post-recession world, driving greater adoption of new technologies and ways of working”. She believes the construction industry needs to diversify and adapt to move forward, especially after the crippling recession.

The construction industry is currently experiencing economic growth, the best since the recession hit in 2008, and is predicted to only continue on its positive path. New builds across the country, particularly residential, mean the industry has the breathing room to develop and support change. The hope is we will see more and more young people opting for a career in construction, with the support of STEM courses, and that many of those young people will be women.

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