Adding women to your board and your workforce could just increase your overall profitability and success
There has been an ongoing misconception about the gender specificity of roles within the previously male-dominated construction industry that has carried over from generations past. That belief is diminishing as women now make up around 14% of the industry professionals and this number is set to rise with more and more women choosing careers in construction (source: goconstruct.org).
With plenty of benefits and rewards as well as variety, it is definitely an industry worth consideration. By bringing more women into the industry, inevitably new perspectives would be injected into the sector, adding new skills and widening the choice of candidates.Recent research has found that firms with women in senior roles performed better than male-run companies by almost 40 per cent. The study found that businesses with more women in top positions managed to make more money during the first 15 months of the Covid crisis.
Firms with women making up at least half of the executive committee secured a profit margin of 21.2 per cent, while FTSE 350 companies without female executives endured on average a decline in profits of 17.5 per cent. (source: The Independent)
Only eight percent of FTSE 100 companies and 3.6 percent of FTSE 250 companies had in 2020, while the share of executive directors who were women was 14.2 percent at FTSE 100 companies and 11 percent at FTSE 250 companies. (source: Statista)
It is clear that there is still a gender disparity that needs to be improved and addressed. By focusing where the gaps might be, the playing field could be more levelled, opening up the opportunity for the workforce in construction to become more gender-balanced.
Establish a new narrative
Setting aside pre-conceived ideas about what it’s like to work within the construction industry needs to be priority number one, opening the path for women to feel comfortable in applying for construction roles.
Globally, despite making up 50% of the population, women generate just 37% of GDP (source: Workplace). Within the construction industry sector, there are only six construction companies in the UK that have an equal number of male to female directors or are female-led (source: PCB Today).
By being clear about the range of roles within your organisation, beyond crane operators and bricklayers for example, you can open up the job market for a diversity of applicants. Sharing with your audiences which roles are currently held within the organisation by women, allows others to see it is possible for women to be successful within the construction industry, as much as in other sectors. When it comes to women in construction being overlooked, unconscious bias still plays a huge part in the issue.
Treating all employees equally, regardless of gender, is key and non-negotiable. Offering equipment to everyone that fits properly as well as equal facilities for all genders are just a couple of factors that are absolutely necessary for everyone to do their job to the highest standard in fair conditions.
Reducing the pay gap within construction is vital as well, as it is still one of the worst industries for pay disparity. The gap has fallen from 36% last year to 20% (source: construction online). Ensuring all staff within your organisation are paid and promoted based on their job role and performance, not their gender is essential.
Much like the tech, science and other STEM industries, the construction industry is still lacking in gender equality and is dominated by men (source: PCB Today)
Equality offers a potentially wider talent pool and therefore greater increased profitability. With improved recruitment and overall reputation as an equally balanced employer, you establish positive company values and enhanced reputation in the recruitment marketplace. The knock-on effect is reduced staff churn, having an inclusive culture in your workplace boosts morale and opportunity. Better collaboration and more perspective follow on from there, sparking creativity and innovation, generating new opportunities.
With the long working hours and possibility of travel often involved in many construction roles, women could be discouraged, fearing a loss of work/life balance given parental and life responsibilities. Flexibility isn’t something that has previously been widely adopted in the construction sector.
However, a recent poll found that 48% of respondents said that flexible working is something they are looking for (source: construction online). So, calculating how you can adapt within your organisation to accommodate more flexibility in your workplace practices would open the door for further gender balance and diversity.
The bottom line is, there are a multitude of benefits for companies to have a diverse workforce. Enabling your team to be driven, efficient, multi-skilled and engaged can be achieved within an organisation that is diversified. 37% of new employees choosing construction post-university are women so the numbers are encouraging that change is indeed happening (source: Procure partnerships).
From my own perspective, although I work in an office of predominately men, as are most of our clients and audience, I have found all to be very receptive of my input and fully supportive as we develop any projects together, never taking a pause over something like gender.
Further, at Krank, we aim to support everyone in the industry, no matter their gender. It is our corporate social responsibility and we proactively promote equality and diversity within our organisation and within the industry.
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