Changed Perceptions Are Bringing More Women into Construction
In an ideal world, all young people would be provided with plenty of information about the different career routes available to them and be able to make an informed decision on what profession they would like pursue.
But like most decisions we make in life, careers are chosen with imperfect information being the reality. As a result, they are often based on perceptions that are not 100% accurate. Maybe that’s why many people change careers even after investing several years in a particular pathway.
To a large extent, it is the perceptions of work that women traditionally do or don’t do that has prevented many from even considering a career in our industry.
Who Influences Career Choices?
Parents are a significant influence. And nowadays, social media also impacts decisions. Just imagine if there were a few Instagram or YouTube influencers who happened to be women working in the construction sector (complete with hi-vis and steel toecaps), that would make a difference.
Perceptions and misconceptions have always fed into gender stereotyping of certain sectors and occupations, which is particularly true of construction. Our sector has traditionally been male dominated and in many ways still is. But there’s evidence that times are changing.
But there is still a long way to go. Girls and young women need to see more about the fantastic opportunities construction presents, such as the chance to travel, gain industry recognised qualifications and play an integral part in the development of buildings of the future.
Tell the Positive Story
The industry needs to work more closely with the national media to help shine a positive spotlight on everything we do. Amazing achievements and amazing people who could be powerful role models currently go unrecognised.
Because people don’t see the opportunities, the parents of a young females considering construction as a career may not see the vast range of opportunities and career enhancement it offers.
If our young people don’t come into the industry, how do the parents of today expect their grandchildren to find future homes or offices to work from? Their daughters could play a key role in accommodating generations to come.
At some point we will reach a critical mass where being a female in the construction industry is nothing unusual. The perceived barriers will then disappear. But to get there we have to keep spreading the word about the fantastic opportunities and fulfilling careers our industry has to offer.