Research reveals gender discrimination in construction

New research from Randstad has revealed the issues that are preventing women from entering or remaining in the construction and engineering sectors – from gender discrimination, to career opportunities, job flexibility and culture.

Findings from Randstad’s 2019 Women in Construction report show that 60 per cent of the women surveyed have experienced gender discrimination at least once, and 37 per cent of female workers have experienced inappropriate behaviour from a male colleague.

Additionally, one in five women said they believed they have been passed over for a promotion or senior leadership positions because of their gender, rather than as a reflection of their skills.

According to the research, more than 38 per cent of women felt a lack of gender diversity was a contributing factor to leaving or being reluctant to enter the industry, and 39 per cent indicated that a lack of female role models in senior positions was a key barrier to progression.

General Manager, Diversity & Inclusion for Randstad Australia, Kerry McQuillan, said she hopes the research will show employers the areas they need to focus on to encourage more women to not only join these traditionally male-dominated industries, but to stay with it.

“Our research has shown that workplaces certainly need to do more in order to attract and retain female talent by satisfying job expectations, breaking down the gender barriers and providing more stimulating work with greater opportunities for career progression.”

To recruit female talent, Randstad is encouraging Australian companies to take action to help build and foster meaningful careers for women in the CPE sector, given 33 per cent of female workers also believe there simply aren’t enough opportunities for career development.

When asked to rank the top five factors that might attract more women to join or stay in the industry, opportunities for career progression was ranked first, followed by equal pay, meaningful work, learning and development opportunities and flexible working hours.

Harriet Oldmeadow and Elizabeth Brookes, Senior Construction Lawyers and New South Wales Co-Presidents of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), said they are proud to partner with Randstad to raise awareness around the problem of discrimination towards women, which persists in the construction industry.

“Randstad’s report identifies critical issues affecting not only women, but also men working in the sector, which is driving an unsustainable work culture. The personal stories behind the findings, which we hear on a regular basis, are alarming and, quite often, very sad.

“Together with Randstad, we’re committed to ensuring these issues are on the radar at every level of the construction supply chain, to make a positive change for the present and future workplace.”

Ms McQuillan urged businesses within the CPE sector to recognise the obstacles that women are facing to enact real change.

“We can see that by raising awareness around these issues, employers are starting to sit up and take action. By keeping this conversation alive and bringing these issues to the forefront, we can make a real difference for the entire industry.”

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