CN last week launched a new campaign, with a series of events and content aiming to inspire future leaders and promote the industry as being gender neutral, welcoming of women in all roles.
More from: CN launches 'Inspire Me' campaign
When the Women’s Business Council approached us early last year to see if we would start a campaign, we began researching what it would look like.
As with our Mind Matters campaign last year, which got this whole industry talking about mental health, I was keen we do something that could have tangible benefits.
I wanted CN, as we did with last year’s campaign, to do research before launching this initiative.
That meant talking to senior women on our editorial advisory board, at the CBI and within the industry about how to focus this campaign.
Inspire Me will look at ways to improve the retention of women in this industry, as well as helping to provide women with the tools to advance their careers, from sites to boardrooms.
CN has a long history of championing diversity and shining a light on the lack of gender diversity, in particular.
In our special issue on women in construction last year, we found gender diversity among the UK’s largest contractors was getting worse.
Compulsory gender pay gap reporting will this year put the spotlight on large construction companies. The government’s own figures suggest industry firms are 5 percentage points worse on average than UK firms, with a pay gap of around 23.3 per cent.
Construction, infrastructure, property: whatever part of this industry you belong in, it is inevitably dominated by men at the top, not solely among CEOs but on boards in general.
That’s despite the mounds of research showing greater gender diversity at executive level leads to better financial performance.
And in a month when Carillion has gone bust, with its directors to be hauled before MPs next week, there will be a lot of soul-searching going on across this industry about its boardroom practices.
This week’s revelations about the Presidents Club charity fundraiser have shone an uncomfortable light once again on big business.
Big businesses in this sector and every other are under more pressure than ever before to show they are modernising and improving their practices both internally and for their clients.
Several of these businesses have already signed up to support the Inspire Me campaign. My thanks to Willmott Dixon, our headline partner, and our supporters: Mabey Group, NASC, Randstad and Trad.
All of these organisations are committed to working with Inspire Me to make positive change within their own organisations and across the wider industry on gender diversity.
Inspire Me will be a catalyst for this change, for the construction industry to recognise that true leadership should know no gender.