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Women in the future of construction

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Funding, ISCF

Around nine years ago, I noticed a huge gap in the construction industry, not many women or girls were considering opportunities in the industry: at that time my training portfolio was 90% male and 10% female.

A series of protective construction site helmets in different colours

Changing the make-up of the construction industry

Personally, having worked in the construction industry for the last 12 years, including:

  • regenerating empty spaces, homes, shops and heritage buildings
  • working on Wales largest road scheme a £400 million programme
  • designing and building community cafés, arts & crafts facilities, pop-up shops and Cardiff’s first pink beach club - as part of Transforming Spaces, a regeneration programme I started up seven years ago

I decided, using creative thinking and innovation, to change the make-up of the construction industry through construction tasters, work placements and site visits.

This has dramatically changed the diversity on my portfolio which has changed to 70% male and 30% female. Our construction sites are 50/50 gender split and for the first time I visited a local college to find 50/50 gender split on a tiling course.

Forward thinking and diverse workforce

I recently spoke at Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation: Building Success event in Cardiff about how the construction industry is forward thinking and open to a diverse workforce. In my view, further joined up working with government, communities and private sector can make a big impact. The industry can go further to attract and retain new talent.

Our recommendations to the construction industry, to encourage more gender diversity are:

  • cleaner work spaces
  • toilet facilities on site suitable for both males and females
  • higher paid part-time roles and flexible working including job shares for both men and women
  • training for women and girls
  • construction site open days for women and girls to work on site for the day 

Construction trainees on a construction site, showing a cement mixer and a person in charge talking to young people

Closing the gender gap

The data released by the Office for National Statistics shows that the total amount of female construction workers shot up 9.9% year on year to hit 277,000 in December 2015.

This is clear evidence that construction projects, tasters and on-site placements for women and girls to enter the industry are opening the doors to a more diverse workforce.

However, there is still a long way to go to increase the diversity of women and girls working in the construction industry. Currently, there are:

These are clear gaps that need further investment. It is key in 2019 to step up construction projects that support more women and girls into the industry. In particular investing further to enable women to progress into STEM subjects and women returners to work.

Lisa Marie Brown with a group of colleagues all wearing high viz pink gilets in front of pink vehicles

Pinkspiration: who we are

Our business Pinkspiration launched in 2011 and offers construction training and skills for young people and women & girls to enter the industry.  We are now leaders for supporting young people, women and girls into industry, ranking 3rd on the SE100.  Our highlights include:

  • Up-skilling of more than 8,500 young people
  • Re-built 30 empty spaces and shops
  • Launched a pink truck with Inter-haul and Pallet Track
  • Our construction sites are now 50/50 gender split
  • Launched our Women into Construction, Industry and Business Programme, which supports 300 women & girls into industry each year

Our team has a talent pool of young people, women and girls who are keen to progress on site.  If you’re interested in working with us or for further information contact us at Pinkspiration.

Lisa Marie Brown MCIM, Managing Director, Pinkspiration


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