Women in the UK Construction Industry: The Role and Impact of Socio-Economics

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The UK construction industry is the country’s largest employer with over two million workers and the latest national statistics forecast healthy levels of growth as far ahead as the year 2011. However, the industry faces severe skills shortages and tends to lack a diversity of workers compared to the rest of the UK economy. Between the years 1994 and 2004 there has been little change in the percentages of women workers and the current figure stands at just 10.1 per cent. Research into the issues surrounding gender and the impact of socio-economics on the reasons behind the under-representation of women employees is severely limited. The Women and Work project funded by Construction Skills (2008)is researching the main barriers that women face within the industry alongside providing a rolling programme of delivery that is aimed at facilitating their levels of entry, retention and progression. Findings gathered from a series of women based focus groups and semi-structured questionnaires are analysed and assessed in this paper. These findings have led to a series of themes and recommendations that both inform current project delivery strategy and highlight issues and areas where further research is required.


Keywords: Women, Construction Industry, Socio-Economics, Career Choice, Employment, Discrimination
Stream: Gender and Sexuality
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Andrew Thomas

Chief Executive, Centre for Construction Innovation
School of the Built Environment, University of Salford

Salford, UK

Professor Andrew Thomas is Acting Associate Head of Academic Enterprise, School of the Built Environment at University of Salford and the Chief Executive for the Centre for Construction Innovation (CCI). Professor Thomas’ visionary approach supports both clients and supply organisations in rising to the challenges emerging from modern methods of construction, sustainable development and communities and Equality and Diversity policies and practices.

Dr. Lisa Worrall

Research Fellow, Centre for Construction Innovation
School of the Built Environment, University of Salford

Salford, UK

Dr. Lisa Worrall is a Research Fellow for the Centre for Construction Innovation (CCI) at the University of Salford. Lisa’s activities and interests include e-learning and metacognition and Equality and Diversity policies and practices. Her current work incorporates the training and up-skilling of women using action learning to facilitate their proactive entry, retention and progression within the UK construction industry.

Ref: D08P0355