The Victorian Government has announced a new policy which mandates increased representation for women in the construction industry.
The Building Equality Policy (BEP) is an Australian first and aims to disrupt gender stereotypes in the country’s most male-dominated industry.
The BEP will apply to new government projects, and mandates female representation in at least three per cent of each trade role, seven per cent of each non-trade position and 35 per cent of management, supervisor and specialist labour roles.
In effect from 1 January 2022, the BEP also mandates that four per cent of labour hours for apprentices and trainees will be required to be performed by women.
The Victorian Government has invested $3.5 million to support the implementation of the policy and a further $1.5 million for the delivery of medium and long-term actions from the Women in Construction Strategy 2019-22.
Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said, “We need to make women aware that construction is an attractive and viable career option – and these targets will ensure women are proactively included and stay in the industry, with stronger career pathways.
“Greater diversity makes our workplaces stronger – and greater representation of women in construction will benefit everyone in the industry.”
CEO of Master Builders Victoria and Acting Chairperson of the BICC, Rebecca Casson, said, “More women are active in building and construction now than in the past, but they still make up just 2.5 per cent of all building and construction trades workers in Victoria.
“Our sector must change if it is to reduce skills shortages and have a thriving and sustainable future.”
Over the past 30 years, women have consistently comprised between two and three per cent of the construction workforce, with the coronavirus pandemic having a disproportionate impact on women’s workforce participation, employment and economic security.
The new requirements are being introduced through Victoria’s Social Procurement Framework (SPF) for works valued at $20 million or more over the life of the project.
There will be a two-year transitional implementation period and action on non-compliance will kick in from January 2024.
Victoria’s Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC) has worked collaboratively on the development of the policy and will continue to provide support and guidance to help industry understand their obligations and comply.