Gender Balance in Construction

The gender balance in construction appears to be moving slowly in some roles yet stubbornly not in others, according to Professor Noble Francis in a LinkedIn post today. “Women accounted for 14.5% of the UK construction workforce in 2022 Q1 but it clearly varies considerably by occupation. In Q1, women were only 0.8% of Skilled Trades but 81.9% of admin & secretarial jobs.

“What is notable is how the proportion of female Directors & Senior Management has increased in the last 10 years from 12.0% to 19.3% but also how little change there has been in most other construction occupations over the last 10 years. It would be interesting to know why this has been the case.”

This gender balance issue has been high on the agenda at Robinson Manufacturing (RML) for a number of years. Under former CEO Simon Kidney, the business made massive strides.

gender balance in construction

Now, under the company’s first female CEO, Sam Gartside, gender diversity is simply the norm:

“Our recruitment policies focus purely on finding the right people for each role, whether it’s technical, management or administrative,” she commented. “The fact that candidates see such a great gender balance when they come for an interview, and are as likely to be interviewed by a woman as a man simply reinforces this and removes any concerns someone may have about working for a business in such a traditionally male dominated sector as construction.”

Recognising that many housebuilders are making great strides in attracting and developing female talent indicates that better gender diversity is on its way, certainly coming up through the ranks of these businesses as more women develop their careers in the sector.

Interestingly, females currently make up less than 1% of the workforce on building sites, and RML believes this needs to change for the sector ever to be able to claim that it has cracked the problem. That’s why Simon Kidney, now Executive Chair of the group, initiated Inspiring 5050 – a project designed to create a continuous pipeline of female candidates to help sites reflect society’s male:female balance. The project has some ambitious goals, including working with educational and housebuilding partners to create a flagship operational site employing a 50:50 male:female ratio of trades by 2025.

This topic is one we will keep coming back to, as a business as well as an industry, for many years. We see some of the foundations of change being put in place around the sector and with continued focus, we believe these will bear fruit in the long term.

If you have a development project you’d like to talk to our timber frame team about, email sales@rmuk.co.uk or call us on 01933 279597.