Gapsquare Blog


Posted by Hazel Lush on 22-Mar-2017 11:26:00

About a year ago, we were talking to a group of 7 year olds about the gender pay gap. The children were quick to point out that men and women do different kinds of jobs, and there are not that many women in construction because “a brick could fall on a woman’s head and hurt her”, among other reasons. We asked, “and what would happen if, say, a brick fell on a man’s head?”. This was met with thoughtfulness and perplexed consideration.

They were right to some extent, there aren’t many women in the industry, they make up only 11 percent of the workforce and as little as one percent in the manual trades, though perhaps the reasons why are a little more complex. The construction industry has a gender pay problem, there is work to do on how inclusive the industry is. But there’s never been a better time to tackle these issues and ensure that future 7 year olds have a whole different spin on the construction industry. After all, a brick really could fall on just about anyone.



Photo Courtesy of Georgie Pauwels

 Current gender pay gap in construction are identified by the ONS as:

  • Construction building trades: 23%
  • Construction and building trades supervisors: 45%
  • Construction operatives: 15%
  • Construction project mangers: 3%
  • Production managers and directors in construction: 15%

When it comes to the specific steps an employer can take to tackle the lack of women in construction – it all starts with understanding what data says about women in specific departments and taking action to address that. Gapsquare works to help the construction industry widen its pool of talent and include women in every aspect of the industry. The benefits of doing so are considerable.


Lack of Women and Lack of Diversity In Their Roles

There are ongoing issues with getting women into certain roles within the construction industry, particularly in the more manual areas of work. Whether this be due to women’s lack of interest in these areas of work, or employers’ lack of interest in taking on women is debatable. Some claim that women are prevented at the first hurdle:

A lot of employers put the CVs of women down to the bottom of the pile and only look at the men’s. Some employers don’t think that women are up to the job”

Whether it be due to lack of interest in roles or comfort in doing them, or lack of opportunity, women are seriously hard to come by in this industry. Shockingly, the numbers of female roofers, briacklayers and glaziers was “so low as to be unmeasurable” according to a recent national ONS survey.

Thought there are ever growing numbers of schemes aimed at getting women involved, and we’re moving in the right direction, there are lot of opportunities for improvement.

The Working Culture

There are numerous reports that, unfortunately, the culture in the industry can feel hostile to women who do work in construction. According to one figure, 11% of women have left the construction industry due to discrimination. More than half of the women in one survey stated that they had been treated worse at work because of their gender, and issues such as isolation were listed as key problems. Though there have been many attempts to improve this culture, it is no doubt something that impacts the number of women able to move into and up through the ranks in the industry, or have opportunities for pay rises. This can impact gender pay figures. It is important to consider where this feeling comes from and to foster a more positive environment for all.

Flexibility of work

The retention of women in the industry also suffers due to its lack of maternity and child care benefits. According to Constructing Excellence, only 15% of the construction industry give women more than 18 week’s statutory maternity leave, where the national average is 27%. There is also a lack of flexibility and access to part time work, 44% of females work part time in the UK in general, but this figure is only 5% in construction. More flexibility allows women in the industry to maintain their position despite having caring demands, or wishing to start a family, making the industry much more attractive to a wider range of talented individuals.


Diversity is essential to profitability

Closing the Pay Gap is good for business. Fact. Famously diversity has a positive impact on earnings. As your customers become more diverse, why shouldn’t your employees do the same? Diversity means diversity of thought, of ideas and a push towards meeting the needs of a diverse range of clients. Solving issues around gender in construction could be profitable for your company, “every 10 per cent increase in gender diversity saw earnings before interest and taxes rise 3.5 per cent in the UK” according to Growth Business. Take advantage of these opportunities.

Access further markets

The benefits of having a team that represents more completely the world around it are obvious. As the National Centre For Diversity points out: “any organisation not promoting equality, diversity and inclusion is neglecting valuable markets, missing out on sales and ultimately losing profits.” With diverse teams there are opportunities for innovation and success in areas previously not accessed.

Increase your pool of recruits

According to the Smith Institute approximately one in five workers (in construction) are approaching retirement age, and a further 26 percent are between 45 and 55 years old”. The construction industry is predicted to have a serious recruitment issue, with women being the answer: “Women are expected to make up a quarter (26%) of the UK’s construction workforce by 2020″. Your company will need to be ahead of the game in attracting this workforce and recruiting the best and this is best done by getting a grasp on how it manages women in the workplace.


At Gapsquare, we analyse the gap for you and help you to take the best route to solving the gap. Would your company benefit from offering or making it easier to access more flexible working practices? Do you need to develop more opportunities for women within your industry or increase opportunities for women to receive a pay rise? Analysing your pay gap has never been easier or more obviously beneficial.

calculating gender pay gap gapsquare analysis tool

Work with Gapsquare to understand your gender pay gap ahead of your publication of the data in April 2018 and get ahead of competitors in accessing markets, pools of talent and a diverse range of ideas:

Use our free tool on our website or contact us to discuss industry wide offers on our Advanced Services – Email Zara at

Let’s put a different spin on the construction industry.


Tags: women, equality, regulations, gender pay gap, business, uk, construction