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Support for women in the UK construction sector

30 May 2020

By PBC Today

Support for women in the UK construction sector

Sir Robert McAlpine in partnership with, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, Equate Scotland and City of Glasgow College, have developed an industry guide to encourage inclusivity and diversity in UK construction

The industry guide is free to all construction companies. It can be used to identify where equality and inclusion efforts should be focused, providing practical advice.

The ‘Inclusive Value Guide’ highlights areas of good practice across the UK demonstrating how employers have implemented positive working practices.

While equality and inclusion may be less of a priority for the construction sector during the UK’s collective fight against the coronavirus pandemic. It is essential the sector does not lose sight of the long-term benefits equality brings to the industry.

Gender equality in construction

As it currently stands, women make up just 15% of the UK construction sector and only 2% of manual trade workers. According to the trade union, GMB, it will take almost 200 years to achieve gender equality in the construction sector.

However, if the UK is to meet complex infrastructure challenges related to climate change, population growth and technological transformation, the sector needs to take steps towards recruiting, training and retaining a diverse workforce. Particularly at a time when we are experiencing a growing skills gap, ageing workforce and uncertainty around Covid-19.

While construction employers are keen to see more women working in the sector, employers are not always sure of what actions to take to address the gender imbalance.

The industry guide has been designed to provide employers with practical guidance on the changes they can make.

Modernise and diversify

Talat Yaqoob, director of Equate Scotland, said: “If the industry chooses to, it can use this period of change to create new ways of working and open the industry up to women and other underrepresented groups.

“Covid-19 will have an impact on every sector in our economy, but when the doors to industry re-open we cannot return to the status quo, we must build back better, this toolkit is a way for construction companies to do just that.”

Douglas Morrison, director of operations and future skills at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, added: “For many companies, survival, improved productivity and long-term growth will be underpinned by attracting and retaining the best talent.

“This guide is intended as a signpost towards those who have already successfully created inclusive and high performing workplaces.”

The Inclusive Value Tool and guide can be accessed here.​

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