3 Ways construction companies are working to narrow the gender gap

Gender Gap Ellis Fox Blog

Construction has often come under fire as an industry for being slow to address diversity and equality, especially when it comes to gender disparities. Historically, women earn less than men in the same roles, are more frequently passed over for promotion, and have to navigate their way through negative stereotypes in the workplace.

Despite this many women successfully hold senior roles in construction and infrastructure companies. The challenge is that the overall percentage of women employed in the industry is still low at 14%. Closing the gender gap is going require much more.

The positive news is that some companies are seeing this as a real business opportunity and being deliberate about growing the number of women in construction and creating more equality in the industry.

Mentorship Programs

Women working in construction are being proactive about promoting the industry to schools and colleges, highlighting opportunities and engaging in mentorship programs that encourage girls to consider careers in engineering and construction. Currently most roles occupied by women are in finance and administrative roles. But as new technologies become more mainstream in construction it’s opening up more opportunities that are of interest to younger generations.

Embracing diversity as an advantage

Some construction companies are actively recruiting women because they’re filling the skills gap and bringing immense value. Diverse perspectives and approaches are helping to encourage innovation and solutions oriented thinking. In an industry that’s constantly bombarded with external challenges, being able to identify problems and solutions quickly is a definite advantage.

Equal benefits

One policy that is unique in the way it levels the playing field is offering equal benefits to all employees regardless of gender. An example of this is Laing O’Rouke’s recent announcement that parental leave is now available to all employees, not just mothers taking maternity leave. Fathers can now also take time off to bond with and support their families. Policies like this send a message that the contributions of both genders are valued and that women shouldn’t feel that they have to choose between career and family.

Questions still remain about gender pay gaps and these can be addressed with policy reform and deliberate action towards greater transparency.  It’s encouraging to see the efforts being made by different construction companies that are taking a more proactive approach to improving diversity and closing the gender gap in the industry.