Construction workforce won’t be equal until 2194, says GMB

Just one in eight construction workers are said to be female – the lowest share of any broad industrial group.

Female construction 1

An analysis revealed at an annual Congress today (11th June) has shown that it will take nearly 200 years to achieve gender equality in the construction industry.

The research as outlined by construction union GMB coincides with a recent ONS report that revealed just one in eight construction workers are female – the lowest share of any broad industrial group.

In light of this release of figures, GMB is said to have arranged a summit with the major construction companies working in the £18bn Hinkley Point C project to discuss the lack of women in construction.

Meanwhile, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner backed the move at GMB’s Congress this week.

GMB is due to meet HPC bosses and contractor Doosan Babcock to discuss ways to recruit more women on the construction of the nuclear reactor.

There are currently 60,972 more women in the construction industry than there were in 2009 – but as a proportion of the overall workforce the female share of the labour force increased by just 2.1%.

At this rate, it is estimated to take almost two hundred years before there is gender equality in the industry.

Commenting on the figures, Jude Brimble, GMB National Secretary, said that the analysis is a “sobering reminder” of the scale of the challenge facing the industry.

Angela Rayner, Shadow Education Secretary, said that although the figures show the scale of the challenge, they position major state-backed projects like HPC as a chance for the government to “step-in and take action”.

“We need to ensure that apprenticeships, for example, are available to more women and people who are historically underrepresented in certain jobs and industries,” said Rayner.

“But the Tories’ record has fallen far short their rhetoric, failing to set robust targets – let alone meet them.”

She added: “A Labour government will do things differently. We will set clear and ambitious targets for recruiting female apprentices, reform the Institute for Apprenticeships to deliver wider participation, and be held to account by an empowered and independent Social Justice Commission.”

Nigel Cann, HPC Delivery Director, said: “At Hinkley Point C, we aim to create an environment which supports more diverse and inclusive teams and to increase the number of women in the construction phase and beyond.

“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.”

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