Steves Blog

Inspiring NextGen female leaders

30 November 2017

On 4th December, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is holding its Annual Christmas Ball in London, its biggest yet, by far, demonstrating the growing commitment of both individuals and corporate business to support more diversity in the workplace and encourage women to pursue and sustain successful professional careers.

Despite making up almost half of the UK workforce, there are only 296,000 women working in the construction industry.  This is not just an issue for construction, as I highlighted in my April 2017 blog, Rail has a lot of work to do to become more representative of the UK workforce.

Today, many industries have organisations and special interest groups specifically targeting women yet progress remains slow even amongst the largest companies with only 16% of FTSE 350 executive committees being represented by women.

That said, there are some encouraging signs of change with women securing 77% of new UK jobs in 2016 and FTSE 100 companies increasing representation of women on their boards by 12%. The APM’s latest annual salary survey has also demonstrated a 6% rise in female representation.

So how do NAWIC and similar organisations redress the diversity balance at a faster rate?

We must look at a top-down and bottom-up approach providing women with female role models, who are in positions of power and influence, to aspire to, and put an end to gender pay gap issues.

We must also end stereotypes of both men and women’s roles in construction, shifting the focus from gender to ability, and make it easier to bring those that have taken a break from their careers to come back into the working environment.

Increasing investment in education is essential to ensure that women are well placed to meet future employer demand for intermediate and high-level skills and inspiring the next generation to reach their potential.

CPC has doubled its female representation in construction in the last 12 months and are on track to achieve a recruitment target of at least 1 in 3 by the end of 2020.  As our people take on a more active role in supporting NAWIC, sharing their experiences and working together with other members, we believe we can help to drive forward the opportunities for women in construction and be part of a step change for the next generation of female leaders.

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