Being a woman in construction is hard. But exactly how challenging is it?
It can be hard to prove whether you’ve been held back because of your gender.
Lost out on that promotion to a man who lacks the experience and skillset you have? It’s probably down to “how he performed in the interview”, and definitely not because you’re at the age where you might be having a baby.
Received an inappropriate comment from a male colleague? You want to report it but you don’t know if your complaint will be taken seriously.
But numbers talk. And Randstad / CN research can reveal that women face barriers in construction because of their gender.
One in five companies have never employed a woman into a senior position, with half of all firms claiming they have never had a female manager in their business.
However, 93 per cent of all respondents said having a female manager would not affect their jobs or would have a positive effect, with 31 per cent of women saying a female manager would improve their working environment.
There was an almost even split between the proportion of companies that had at least one woman on their boards (53 per cent) and those that did not (47 per cent).
Furthermore, a quarter of all women surveyed believed they had been passed over for a project or promotion and 28 per cent of women reported they had experienced inappropriate comments or behaviour from a male colleague.
The figures show that women are struggling to get into more senior positions the further up the career ladder they go.
Why is this the case? One reason could be simply the lack of female representation in construction’s workforce, according to Mabey chief executive Juliette Stacey.
“If you have a small pool of women in a big pool of men, obviously more men are going to be selected for promotion,” she says.
VGC Group services director Ciara Pryce said women may not feel confident enough putting themselves forward for senior positions because of feeling like a minority in a male-dominated industry.
“You do stand out as a woman in the industry, which means women may feel they have to be the best at what they do to justify their position,” Ms Pryce says. “I think women feel they have to build up a case for their promotion, whereas men may feel more confident in their ability or competence.”
The numbers stack up: construction has a problem with gender inequality. The main question is: how can the industry work together to lower these statistics.