Building industry must tackle gender imbalance — CIF

Building industry must tackle gender imbalance — CIF

The construction industry needs more female workers to meet current demand for skills and to deliver Ireland’s urgent housing and infrastructure needs, construction leaders say.

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On 21 September, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) launched its first diversity and inclusion guidance document for the sector in a bid to address gender imbalance.

Earlier this year, a CIF survey revealed that over 70% of construction companies recognise the need for more women in the industry. However, on average approximately only one in ten construction workers are female.

The survey also found that on construction sites, 99% of workers are male, while in offsite roles, 54% are male and 46% are female. Of those women working in construction roles considered ‘offsite’ the majority work in administration, finance, HR and marketing.

The CIF has embarked on a year-long #BuildingEquality campaign to increase the number of women in the industry and the visibility of those already working in construction.

“Increasing diversity and gender equality is not just the right thing to do, it is critical for our industry,” said Jean Winters, director of industrial relations and employment services for the CIF. “A disengagement with construction is unconsciously driven by the education system at a very young age for girls. We have to tackle misconceptions about the industry at this level and this will form part of a national awareness campaign the CIF is undertaking to promote the diverse careers in the industry. The industry has a job to do to proactively ensure that we are diversity and inclusion friendly.”

She continued: “As the construction sector recovers and evolves, we are increasingly competing with other industries for talented young people who are concerned about equality and diversity. In order to meet the ambition of government strategies we must attract more women into the industry.

“Careers in construction have become more family-friendly, more technology driven, safer, less physically demanding and increasingly global in recent years… We want to encourage more young women to consider construction as a viable option for them and change the view that construction is ‘just for the boys.’”

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