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Equality’s a Long Haul for the Construction Industry

At the annual conference in Brighton, the GMB Construction Trade Union revealed some startling estimations for the future of gender equality within the industry.

The prediction states that, at the current growth rate, the number of female employees won’t be equal to the number of male employees until the year 2194.

Out of all industries in the UK, construction is currently very far down on the scale, with this statement weighing down on the position even further.

Since 2009, the industry has seen a rise of 60,972 working women. However, as a proportion of the overall work force, women increased by only 2.1% from 10.4% in 2009 to 12.5% in 2018.

Jude Brimble, GMB’s national secretary, said: “Our analysis is a sobering reminder of the scale of the challenge facing the industry. As a union we are committed to advancing the cause of gender equality in all industries. That’s why we have arranged our ground-breaking Hinkley Point summit.”

Andy Colquhoun, chief executive of Doosan Babcock, explained: “Historically, the engineering and construction industry in the UK has been male-dominated; Doosan Babcock’s drive in relation to diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a core element of our education, attraction and recruitment programmes.

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“Increasing awareness and creating routes for women to enter the industry and contribute to a project such as Hinkley Point C is not only the smart thing to do but also morally right. The project allows us to progress this further in partnership with our client EDF and with our trade union partners.”

HPC’s delivery director, Nigel Cann, said: “We want to support more women entering the industry and to encourage progression of those who are already working with us. Success in this area is already being seen within EDF Energy’s apprenticeships where almost 40% of the current cohort are female – a substantial improvement against industry averages.”

Evidently, this generic estimation overlooks a number of factors. While the current growth rate is low, there is still a possibility of an influx of women workers to join the industry. With the ongoing equality movements that are sweeping the nation, it is becoming increasingly common for women to join communities that have previously been considered as “male-dominated” and construction is definitely seeing a rise in female employees. However, these estimations show that if the current status remains the same or sees little growth for a longer period, then the reality is that the industry will fail to see the changes that are so strongly supported by companies across the UK.

Specialists in Construction Insurance


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