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Sexism 'holding back' up to third of women in construction

Nearly a third of women have said that a fear of sexism has held them back from pursuing senior roles in construction according to a new study by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The study on gender pay gaps and other issues within the construction sector found that 30 per cent of women cited fears of sexism relating to their career choices, with 39 per cent of respondents stating they believed that firms were not doing enough to attract females to the sector.

Nearly half of all respondents, however, believed that the pay gap in the construction sector will fall below the national average to 15 per cent.

The current national average stands at 18.1 per cent, however it was reported in April that the pay gap in the construction industry is up to 5 percentage points higher than the UK average, standing at 23.3 per cent.

RICS chief executive Sean Tompkins said: “Although it’s great to see the sector expects the gender pay gap to be lower than the national average, today’s findings highlight that achieving gender equality in the construction sector requires significant commitment from organisations.

“Encouragingly, there is a collective agreement from over a third (38 per cent) of both men and women across the industry that companies are not doing enough to attract females into the sector.

“The findings reveal that it is primarily the responsibility of individual organisations, to invest in schemes and nurture more inclusive cultures that support women to hold more senior roles in the construction industry.

“People often come at tackling diversity from the perspective of it is an issue to be addressed.

“RICS believes it should be approached from the other way round; diversity and an inclusive culture where you feel entirely comfortable being yourself in the workplace has to be embedded as part of your business strategy and DNA because you simply cannot afford to not have a diverse workforce today and for the future.”

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