More Female Workers Required To Meet Construction Demands

The Construction Industry requires more female workers to meet current demand for skills and to deliver Ireland’s urgent housing and infrastructure needs. This is according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).

The CIF will today launch its first Diversity and Inclusion Guidance Document for the Construction sector in a bid to address the existing gender imbalance.

Earlier this year, the Construction Industry Federation commissioned a survey to discover exactly how many women are working in the Irish construction industry, in what roles and at what levels.

The survey also investigated the views of female workers currently working in the industry and the views of employers regarding diversity and inclusion in construction.

This survey found that over 70% of construction companies recognise the need for more women in the industry. However, on average approximately only 1 out of 10 construction workers are female.

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

Jean Winters, Director of Industrial Relations and Employment Services with CIF and Chair of the #BuildingEquality Working Group said: “Increasing diversity and gender equality is not just the right thing to do, it is critical for our industry. 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."

Minister of State David Stanton, Department of Justice and Equality with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration added: “A healthy, functioning, construction industry is vitally important to our nation’s growing needs and thankfully the industry has emerged from the recession as a leaner, more modern and innovative place to work. The industry has become more open, more diverse and is becoming an attractive career option for young people once again. But while in many ways our society has come so far, we cannot ignore the fact that many traditional stereotypes still exist, particularly when it comes to industries like construction, which have historically been male-dominated.”