Women in Construction, Are We Moving Forward?


At ORB Mechanical and Electrical, we know it’s important to showcase and invest in the future of our sector.

Women could help with the ongoing skills gap that the construction world is facing, bring new innovative ideas and inspire other leading companies to include women onsite.

With that being said, the team at ORB wanted to speak out about Women in Construction and how this important topic is underrepresented in our line of work. 



The Key Women in Construction Statistics


It’s an obvious one to get you all hooked, but key construction statistics. While the UK construction industry is seeing a rise in women joining the construction and engineering industry, significant strides still need to be made to achieve gender equality.

Women make up just 15% of the construction workforce. With 340,000 females currently employed in the sector.  On a positive note, the number is on a steady rise, with 37% of new construction workers represented by women.

If we want to talk about leadership roles, that’s a whole different story. 16% of women in the construction industry hold a senior management position.

 When talking about leadership roles, the progress our industry is making is unevenly distributed. With 81% of women who work for a construction company, sit within back office roles such as administration and design, while only 1% work in skilled trades.

On top of back office positions, women face other challenges within construction such as the gender pay gap.

Women are earning up to a third less than their male colleagues. In addition, 72% of women have reported experiencing discrimination at their place of work.

 Despite such low figures, women are defining these challenges and are increasingly taking ownership within the industry, with 13% of construction firms now owned by women.



What can the construction industry do to encourage more women to join?


Encouraging more women to join the construction industry involves addressing various barriers and implementing strategies to help create a more inclusive and welcoming environment.

The team at ORB Mechanical and Electrical have put together a list of steps the construction industry can take:


  1. Promoting diversity and inclusion – Companies should actively promote diversity and inclusion within their organisations. This could be done by embracing a work culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  1. Education – Construction companies can look into partnering with local schools and universities to provide information about careers in construction, internships, apprenticeships and mentoring.
  1. It’s time to address the stereotypes –  Celebrate women’s successes within the industry, promote positive images of women in construction on social media, networking opportunities, professional development programs and access to mentors who can help them navigate their careers.
  1. Equal pay opportunities –  Companies need to conduct regular pay equity audits and take proactive steps to address this.
  1. Inclusive work environment –  Implement policies and procedures to prevent harassment and discrimination, as well as providing regular training and resources to promote a culture of respect.


By choosing to implement the above strategies, the construction industry can help create a more diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the hardworking talent and contributions of women.



Interested in Joining the Construction Industry, ORB Have Got You Covered.


There are so many options out there for women now who want to kickstart their career in construction. Don’t let the fear of applying for University or an Apprenticeship hold you back.


As a Bristol based company, ORB Mechanical and Electrical wants to showcase the construction degrees you can study at UWE.


You can choose from the following degrees:


Building Surveying – https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/K230/building-surveying

Construction Project Management – https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/K252/construction-project-management

Architectural Technology and Design – https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/K236/architectural-technology-and-design

 Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management – https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/KN21/quantity-surveying-and-commercial-management

Architecture and Planning – https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/KK14/architecture-and-planning

If the higher educational route doesn’t sound like a bit of you, there are other options available for you to take. Such as the apprenticeship route, earn whilst you learn.

Have a look at the latest apprenticeships near you here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship



You can choose from the following apprenticeships (if you’re Bristol based):


  • Formworker
  • Steel fixing
  • Construction operative
  • Construction site supervisor
  • Construction engineering technician



Unsure if the apprenticeship route is the one for you, why not head over to the ORB Mechanical and Electrical website and get an insight into the apprenticeship world https://orbelectrical.co.uk/apprenticeships-at-orb/



Women in Construction, are we moving forward as an industry or is there more to be done for construction?


In conclusion, the construction industry has made significant strides in recent years for women who want a career in construction, but there is still much more to be done to achieve gender equality and inclusivity.


While the representation of women in construction has increased slightly, they still only make up a small percentage of the workforce.


Progress has been made in raising awareness about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the construction industry, and many companies have implemented various initiatives to attract and retain female talent. These efforts include recruitment programs targeted at women, mentorship opportunities, and diversity training for employees.


The non-for-profit organisation Women into Construction provides support to women wishing to work in the construction industry. Helping to assist contractors to recruit highly motivates, trained women that will reduce the skills gap and create a gender equal workforce.


Check out Women into Construction here: https://women-into-construction.org/


However, challenges such as a lack of support, and stereotypes continue to hinder the advancement of women in construction. Women often face barriers to entry, limited career advancement opportunities, and unequal pay compared to their male counterparts. Additionally, the physical demands of some construction jobs and the male-dominated culture of many worksites can create hostile environments for women.


To truly move forward as an industry, it’s essential to address these systemic issues and create a more inclusive and supportive environment for women.

This includes promoting gender diversity at all levels of the organisation, providing equal opportunities for career development and advancement, and fostering a culture of respect and inclusivity on construction sites.