Union predicts gender equality in construction industry… in 200 years

New statistics have shone light on the continuing diversity issues facing the construction industry that, if solved, could help address the skills shortages and recruitment challenges facing the sector.

Union for construction workers, the GMB, has launched its Building for Britain charter at the Ferrybridge Energy from Waste Project in Yorkshire.

To mark the launch, the union analysed ONS Labour Force Survey statistics from Q4 last year. It found that women make up just 12.5% of the construction industry, while just 5.4% of construction workers were BAME.

GMB said that at the current sluggish rate of change, it will take almost 200 years to achieve gender equality in the construction industry.

Jude Brimble, GMB National Secretary, said: “The construction industry is facing a massive inequality challenge. GMB is committed to building a more diverse workforce that is sustainable for the future.

“The sector also faces huge problems in health and safety, while the spectre of bogus self-employment is never far away.

“That’s why we are launching our Building for Britain pledge today – to tackle these issues and make construction industry and safer, more inclusive place to work.”

The Federation of Master Builders is among the organisations that has highlighted the skills shortage in the sector, warning that it will not be possible to sustain construction growth without addressing this core issue. Charities like Women on the Tools are working to encourage more women ‘onto the tools’, while NMBS recently held a ‘Women in Leadership’ event covering the wider industry, including merchants and suppliers.

Suppliers are, in some cases belatedly, producing kit for women (Dr Martens provided Torque some thoughts on that last year).

For further reading, Torque has spoken to key women in the fastener industry for their unique perspectives on the topic too, including Mirka Valovicova (fischer fixings) , Carly Pearson (Martyn Price), Maddy Webb (TR Fastenings) and Jude Robinson (GWR Fasteners) – those final three all in our April 2019 edition of the magazine.