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Construction Visibility key for Women

Building Commission NSW report considers ways to increase female participation in construction, which requires more than 100,000 skilled workers

The Building Commission NSW Women in Construction Report has been released recommending solutions to the barriers that prevent women from working in the industry.

Increasing the number of women working in the industry could help address the NSW housing supply demand – requiring more than 100,000 workers, the NSW government says.

To help attract and retain more women, the report recommends addressing negative perceptions of the industry, raising business and human resource knowledge and improving workplace culture.

The report has outlined key opportunity areas with recommendations on how to increase female participation. 

Increase exposure to construction 

Targeting students is a key focus in the report as it recommends introducing ‘taster programs’ for students to try out on-site work rotations – allowing maximum exposure and a better understanding of the industry for.

Encouraging female students to take design and technology subjects and offering them greater support is also seen as a way of increasing women in the industry.

Increase visibility of construction careers

The report recommends promoting the things that women enjoy about the industry, such as being creative, working outside, it being fulfilling and being able to see the fruits of your labour.

Improve workplace culture

Being a male-dominated industry, the report recommends creating training courses about sexism – creating a safer work environment for women.

Policies and communication guides could also be implemented to encourage appropriate behaviour from staff, the report says.

Key statistics from the report

According to the report, less than five per cent of women are employed by small to medium construction businesses – which account for 80 per cent of the overall industry.

Among these businesses, 35 per cent employ no women at all, which presents an opportunity to boost the number of women working in construction.

“By improving the workplace for all genders, it will encourage more women to join the industry and help to address the projected shortfall of 100,000 skilled construction workers,” NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler says.

“The participation and retention of women across NSW in the construction industry will deliver the benefits of a more diverse and inclusive industry which increases innovation, improves productivity, and leads to stronger economic performance.”

The research report and key findings are available at nsw.gov.au/women-in-construction-report.

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