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Construction industry needs to 'speed up' female career progression says report

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Written by: Hannah Baker | Posted 13 November 2017 7:22

Construction industry needs to 'speed up' female career progression says report

The property and construction industry runs the risk of making ‘fake’ progress in creating a truly diverse and sustainable workforce if it doesn’t focus on speeding up career progression for women and consider more flexibility in its working practices.

That’s one of the conclusions of a survey published in Bristol examining the opportunities for and barriers to women in the property and construction industry in the South West.

Of all of the female respondents, only 12 per cent had managerial roles, indicating either overall slow career progression for women, or that women haven’t been able to sustain their career following a break.

The pay gap is also an issue; the Office for National Statistics states that women are paid less than men in four measurable categories in the industry, ranging from operatives through to management, with a pay gap in building and trades supervisors of 45.4 per cent.

The ‘Building: A Better Workforce’ report was carried out by Women in Property South West, Bristol-based pay gap specialists Gapsquare, and executive recruiters Rosemont Partnership, also based in Bristol. 

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Rachel Bell, chairman of Women in Property South West, said: “We need to look at how we proactively attract and keep talent and promote diversity: flexible working, mentors and role models, career progression and training opportunities are going to be vital to maintaining the modern workforce, particularly if we are going to achieve a higher rate of engagement amongst women.” 

Women are expected to make up a quarter of the construction workforce by 2020, according to a recent Randstad report, and according to Zara Nanu, chief executive of Gapsquare, the industry needs to do more to achieve that figure.

She said: “This survey is an important benchmark, giving us a current snapshot of experiences, good and bad, and where respondents feel the industry needs to improve, from recruitment through to retirement.

“We wanted to examine why women are still under-represented and how organisations can improve retention and offer practical incentives for women to return after having a family.  

“Although the majority of those who responded are women, the survey wasn’t exclusive as we believe many of the issues raised impact both women and men.”

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