Housebuilder & Developer

Publisher Lesley Mayo

James Parker


It seems fairly fanciful to expect construction, of all industries, to quickly redress its gender imbalance on numbers but also wages. The problem cuts across many sectors but construction is one of the worst, with women making up only 11 per cent of all staff, and a startling 1 per cent on site. Also, I fail to understand how anyone can justify recent ONS stats of female supervisors being paid 43 per cent less than male counterparts.

Clearly, some concerted interventions are needed to fix this. With the skills crisis looming ever larger in coming years post-Brexit, the need to encourage committed and talented women to enter what can be a very rewarding as well as challenging profession is only going to be more crucial in future. So it might not be a case of doing the right thing, more of a case of it being absolutely core to business to ensure women take a bigger role in the industry.

Arguably, the industry does need to be careful to ensure that any previous macho behaviour, on site but also in the office, is stamped out, and things like wolf-whistling are consigned to the past. The many examples of positive work raising awareness of the gender issues around the recent International Women’s Day are not the same as a root-and- branch re-look at appropriate ways of working however. Perhaps a bigger emphasis being put on respect is not too much to ask, and doesn’t need to be dismissed as ‘PC gone mad’.


    


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 

© Futurehome Lendlease go to page 20

12 students from St Anne’s Catholic High School for Girls in Enfield visited a Lovells site recently to learn from women in construction. More on page 9


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    

By the same token, organisations need to guard against being patronising and in fact, tokenistic as they seek to recruit more women. It’s not about saying women can do anything men can do in construction, it’s more about acknowledging that in the current skills crisis, if a candidate has the ability, enthusiasm and/or expertise, gender should never be an issue.

James Parker

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