​How an initiative seeks to change the construction industry

27 January 2023 by Acre
blog author

A nationwide employment programme for women has been launched by two organisations to address the gender imbalance in the construction workforce.

Women into Construction is collaborating with The Home Builders Federation (HBF) to encourage more women to join the construction workforce, which currently sees just 16% female representation.

The initiative will offer a unique programme that will overcome some of the current obstacles including childcare and training costs to make the opportunity more accessible.

It hopes to attract more women into site management roles and will work closely with Barratt Developments, Bellway Homes, St Modwen, Cala Homes, The Hill Group, Redrow, Persimmon Homes, Keepmoat and Vistry Group to enable a greater female presence across a variety of employers.

How the programme will boost women in construction

The employment programme will offer participants first-hand experience of the site manager role and demonstrate how the position can support the industry in delivering in-demand new homes.

It will include site visits, a week of insight and development sessions online with access to site managers and employers for questions and answers and will cover health and safety training. There will also be a two-week on-site work placement offering as well as one-to-one coaching and support from the Women into Construction organisation.

For further details on access to this opportunity, women are invited to attend an online information session at 11am on Tuesday 31 January for registration and to obtain more information about the programme. Here they will have the opportunity to meet the employers involved, including current site managers from across the country.

Building a better future for women

According to the McKinsey report Diversity Wins, companies with more than 30 per cent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30. And the latter firms were more likely to outperform those with even fewer women executives, or none at all.

Jacqui Wordsworth, Women into Construction's Business Development Director, said: “With women representing just 4% of site managers, we want to inspire and encourage more women to take up a career in home building – helping us and our employer partners to change the face of construction.”

Jenny Herdman, Director for HBF’s Home Building Skills Partnership, said: “The home building industry is facing a significant skills shortage. If we are to build the new housing this country desperately needs, it is vital that we attract a broad range of entrants into the industry.

“HBF is delighted to be working with Women into Construction to increase the number of female site managers in the industry and show that there are opportunities for people of all backgrounds and talents to develop a rewarding career in home building.”

Chloë Hunt, Global Director of Research & Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Acre, said: “It’s good to see this commitment from these nine major home builders. How this is promoted and circulated into the wider workforce is integral to the initiative’s success in attracting new talent and more women into the sector”.

Greg Walker, Senior Consultant – Sustainable Business for Acre UK, said: “Last year Acre saw a significant increase in the number of diversity & inclusion and social impact positions in the construction sector.
“These hires, along with the excellent work Women into Construction is doing will go a long way to tackling the skills shortages that the home building sector is facing; along with opening the door to a diverse career for a previously overlooked portion of society.”

Ed Wyeth, Senior Development Consultant at Acre, the leadership and talent development organisation for health & safety and sustainability professionals, said: “Research tells us that diverse workforces increase engagement, drive innovation and ultimately deliver results. An initiative that seeks to promote better representation in a sector that clearly needs it can only be a good thing.”