Women in the UK Construction Industry: The Role and Impact of Socio-Economics
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
Prof. Andrew Thomas
Chief Executive, Centre for Construction Innovation
Dr. Lisa Worrall
Research Fellow, Centre for Construction Innovation