Empowering women in construction

The construction industry has observed a significant increase in female workers, with numbers reaching a record high of 340,000 in the second quarter of 2023. Despite the barriers many women have traditionally faced in the industry, social progress and the rise of diversity, inclusion and equality campaigning have encouraged more to consider construction-based professions. To maintain this momentum, modular construction companies need to take action to inspire a new generation of women into the industry’s workplace.

Overcoming obstacles to employment

In 2023, gender inequality remains a prevalent issue in many industries, including in manufacturing and construction. One report found that 67 per cent of women continue to experience some form of gender-based inequality in the workplace. Coupled with the traditionally machismo culture that often exists within male-dominated workplaces, such inequality has contributed to the discouragement of women from the construction industry.

As such, it is pivotal that companies build up female representation from the top down to showcase the breadth of career opportunities on offer to young women. Female role models not only provide guidance to women employed by a given company but are well placed to advocate the success women can achieve in construction. This process is about illustrating a workplace that women can view themselves thriving within and is particularly crucial for encouraging a younger demographic to pursue careers they see as being within their reach.

Taking this approach is fundamental for increasing diversity in construction. The presence of different genders introduces a range of perspectives, approaches and skillsets that improve problem-solving and decision-making capabilities. Women in particular bring many strengths to the workforce; research has shown that women are more risk averse, meaning they’re likely to prioritise safety onsite, and their different style of communication can be invaluable in a board room setting. With the female demographic on the rise in construction, modular construction companies like ours have a significant opportunity to strengthen their workforce and support women pursuing careers in the industry simultaneously.

Championing change

Championing women in the construction industry requires companies to implement a strong support process that enables individuals to overcome barriers to success. One research report indicated that nearly 80 per cent of women lack the confidence to voice their opinion in their profession. Whilst this is the case across many workplaces, the proportion is likely higher in male-dominated industries.

To create a positive step change, training female mentors is essential to support women from the outset of their career in the industry. This will help to empower individuals to see the value they bring to the workforce and industry and enable them to navigate any barriers to career progression.

HR departments play a fundamental role in this process. All managers should be trained in diversity and inclusion to foster a supportive workplace culture that encourages rather than alienates employees to thrive. Providing tailored support programmes to women will reinforce this culture, creating communication lines for individuals to express any concerns.

From a recruitment perspective, it is equally important that women feel that pursuing a career in the first place is a viable option. This can be achieved through targeted recruitment campaigns, such as the appearance of female workers in advertisements or having female workers talk in schools and at careers fairs to highlight the options available to girls wanting to join the industry.

Fostering a better future

With the number of women in construction rising, now is the time for companies to create a workplace that supports them. At Premier Modular, this growth has been experienced first-hand, with the proportion of women working in the factory more than doubling between 2021 and 2023.

In the midst of an ongoing skills shortage, women are a vital resource to companies in the construction and manufacturing industries. Embracing and encouraging their talent to shine is pivotal for championing diversity and greater business resilience further down the line.

If you are interested in kickstarting your career in the industry, take a look at our current vacancies.

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