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How to attract more women into the construction industry

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Kelly Friel, digital product manager at trade tool and equipment suppliers Zoro, offers her top tips to get women applying for construction roles.

The lack of women working in construction roles is a real problem in the UK. Women make up just 11% of the construction workforce and only 2% of tradespeople (PBC Today). Women are missing out on flexible jobs with good pay in a well-regulated industry. And construction businesses are missing out on almost doubling their workforce by using talented female engineers.

Often, women don’t want to work in construction because they don’t feel welcome. Recruitment seems to be targeted towards men and the faces of construction companies are almost always male. It’s easy to see why some women won’t view it as a viable career path. With a few small adjustments, however, this can be reversed.

So, below are the best ways to encourage women to apply for roles at your construction company.

Focus on all areas

Women should be encouraged to join in all areas of construction, not just administration. Only 3% of people in manual trades, 5% in engineering, 8% in haulage and 12% of people in professional roles in the construction sector are women (Innovate UK).  From construction leadership roles to on-site engineers, everything should be fair game when it comes to equal opportunity. So try not to only concentrate on areas that are traditionally gendered towards women when improving your company.

Modernise the company

Making your company appear more modern can help leave behind old stigmas about women in construction and focus on a more inclusive future. Potential applicants will pick up on this. Embrace technology and digitise your business if you haven’t already.

Some women may have doubts about their ability to keep up with their male co-workers when it comes to manual labour, such as heavy lifting. Address those concerns by promoting how technology and innovation have decreased the need for physical strength or have at least made it easier to perform these tasks.

Equipment and facilities

As an employer, you’re responsible for keeping everyone on-site safe by providing the right equipment and facilities. Personal protection equipment (PPE) is vital for every worker and saves lives, but most of it is designed for men or comes in men’s sizes as standard. This includes everything from steel-capped boots to respiratory equipment.

Facilities such as women’s toilets are also hard to come by on-site. Have these in place before you hire any female staff so they’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as they start working for you.

Create the right impression

Look through your branding and marketing materials to see if women are represented in your imagery. If your brochures are full of pictures of men, then women will get the impression that your company isn’t right for them and look elsewhere. Raise the profile of women who already work at your company on your social media and company website.

Include female employees on your panel when the time comes to interview potential candidates. It will represent your company in a more balanced way and they’ll be able to provide valuable insight into what it’s like being a woman at your company. They’ll also have certain perspectives and opinions that male employees may not be able to offer to candidates.

These are some of the best ways to attract more women into construction roles. By having the right equipment in place and taking steps to show that your company as a great place for them to work, you’ll be sure to see more applications from female candidates when you next advertise a role.

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