The construction industry is an extremely male-dominated sector. In 2022, statistics show that only 13% of construction workers in the UK were female. With the construction industry providing around 3 million jobs (10% of UK employment), the statistics paint a harsh picture of the inequality existing in the sector.
The construction industry is often associated with heavy labouring work and harsh working conditions. Women were often reluctant to work in an environment which was often seen as sexist and potentially dangerous.
As technology advances, however, the construction industry is changing. Today, many construction roles are heavily automated or use mechanical operations to assist with various tasks. People are also more generally aware of appropriate workplace behaviour and equal opportunities.
Although the construction industry is now a more diverse and technologically advanced sector, women are still under-represented. This is perhaps due to the gender pay gap. Figures suggest that men working in the construction industry are paid around 20% more than women for doing the same job. Such inequality needs to change to encourage more women into the industry.
As a sub-sector of the construction industry, the fenestration industry is also a highly male-dominated industry. From window manufacturing to installation, men hold a high percentage of glazing industry jobs.
Certain areas of glass and glazing, however, are attracting more female employees. Office-based and managerial roles which have historically been occupied by men are now being undertaken by more and more women.
This is great news for equality within fenestration. It is also something which, at Lifestyle Windows, we are keen to promote. In our sales team, we are proud to employ two women, Liz, and Elise, who both do an excellent job marketing and selling our products. We also employ Julie as our Head of Finance; a high-responsibility role in which she truly excels.
From managerial and office-based roles, it is easy for women in the glazing industry to apply for roles within manufacturing and installation. Companies should be encouraged to provide training for all employees who want to challenge themselves with more diverse roles.
There is currently a huge labour shortage in the construction industry. By making the industry more attractive to female employees by highlighting the benefits of a career in construction, these roles can be filled, and the construction industry transformed into an equal area with many opportunities.
In the glazing industry, the same changes can be made to promote women in the sector. These changes, however, must come from within. Offering incentives such as training and career progression can help to transform the industry and create an equal working environment for all.