London — International infrastructure group Balfour Beatty published a paper, “Inspiring Change: Attracting women into construction,” drawing attention to the gender diversity gap within the UK construction industry and the negative impact this will have in delivering the future pipeline of mega infrastructure projects.
Construction is evolving, with infrastructure rapidly rising up the political and economic agenda. The pipeline of mega infrastructure projects is projected to create upwards of 25,000 jobs providing the opportunity for exciting and challenging roles and offering job security for decades to come.
While the skills shortage, an ageing workforce and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit are known industry problems to delivering such a pipeline, a large proportion of the UK’s workforce remains largely untapped in helping to bridge and tackle these issues — women make up for just under half of the country’s workforce and yet, within the UK construction sector they account for just 13 percent of the total workforce, of which only 1 percent work onsite. Furthermore, with the industry requiring another million workers by 2050, women are still expected to make up only a quarter of the industry’s workforce by 2020.
Balfour Beatty believes there is no reason why the construction and infrastructure industry should be any different from other sectors in terms of equality and diversity, despite it being a complex problem requiring action on a number of different fronts.
In its paper “Inspiring Change: Attracting women into construction,” it sets out how a diverse, gender-balanced industry can help address the skills shortage, build the infrastructure the UK needs and see the next generation fulfil their potential while utilizing the innovative and exciting technological developments currently in use across the industry.
Stephen Tarr, Managing Director Balfour Beatty’s Major Projects business, said, “In an age when equality is one of the cornerstones of a fair society, it is shocking to see the under-representation of women in construction. At a time when the demand for economic infrastructure is rising, there is a pressing need to tap into all available expertise and skills if we’re to deliver the pipeline of exciting projects in the sector.
“The industry needs to come together with Government and other commissioning authorities to tackle this issue head on. We have to find smarter ways of attracting, recruiting and retaining the next generation of female engineers, surveyors, construction workers and project managers. If we don’t, we risk being in the same situation in ten years’ time.”
Read the full paper at https://balfourbeatty.com/media/314522/balfour-beatty-inspiring-change.pdf.