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Women: Are you angry?

Lucy Alderson

Women in construction: are you angry? I imagine the answer is yes.

CN has worked out that the industry’s median gender pay gap is 30 per cent.

What does that mean? Well, if you put all your company’s men and all its women into two lines ordered by salary, the woman in the middle of her line is paid 30 per cent less on average than the man in the middle of his. 

You’re probably thinking, ‘What’s my company going to be doing about this?’

We wish we could tell you. But the response from the industry on this issue has been, quite simply, pitiful.

We approached the 10 biggest contractors by turnover for an interview on the gender pay gap results. Only one – Interserve – would talk to us.

The rest provided some very lukewarm statements on explaining their gender pay gaps, alongside vague references to how they will tackle them.

It’s a similar story across the rest of construction, with many pointing out that the lack of women in construction has skewed the figures. Laing O’Rourke is an example of this.

“Low female representation across all pay quartiles in the construction sector, and Laing O’Rourke’s direct-delivery operating model, impact the overall figures,” a company spokesperson said.

Many firms have essentially said, ‘The lack of women in the industry and its upper pay brackets widens the pay gap: the end’.

But contractors: don’t hurry to close the book on this one; we’re only on the first page.

Because as long as construction fails to take gender imbalance and inequality seriously, there is no way future generations are going to take construction seriously as a viable career route.

And the industry simply cannot afford to become irrelevant.

That’s why CN launched the Inspire Me campaign to support more women into leadership roles across construction.

If the industry sticks its head in the sand over this issue, the current female workforce will continue to feel ostracised, angry and let down that construction is failing to bridge this gap. 

Silence just isn’t good enough. Female workers need more transparency over what their companies are going to do to tackle the gender pay gap.

So women: tell us what you think about the gender pay gap – fill out the form below and share your experiences.

Men as well: how can you support efforts to tackle this inequality?

And finally, contractors: the CN floor is always open. Who’s going to break the silence and pick up the phone?

Readers' comments (1)

  • As a woman in construction I am really angry - and exhausted. All the women I joined with have left.
    As Jo Brand says: It doesn’t have to be high-level for women to feel under siege.........if you’re constantly being harassed, even in a small way, that builds up and that wears you down."

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