#notjustforboys: Women in Construction


The expert panel included Sophie Walker, leader of Women’s Equality Party; Terrie Alafat from CIOH; Phil Wang; Anne McNamara from Shine & Victoria Brambini, Managing Director of SCAPE Procure – all chaired expertly by Paul Hacket director of the Smith institute.

The Trust previously issued a monograph with the Smith Institute ‘Building the Future: Women in Construction’ in 2014 which brought together a range of high profile industry representatives, MPs and others to make the case for supporting more young women into the industry. The report’s initial success was the inspiration for the #notjustforboys campaign which launched last year, and its continued success has led to the issue of the 2nd edition – this time entitled #notjustforboys: Women in Construction.

It has been two years since that collection of essays was first published, and over that time the number of women in work has increased to nearly half the workforce, with many more professional and technical jobs. Unfortunately, one area where change has been less forthcoming is the number of women working in construction and the manual trades.

Construction Youth Trust

This is an issue close to the heart of Construction Youth Trust, which works with young women who are unaware of the opportunities that Construction careers can offer and, too often, with those who feel unable, or discouraged from entering the industry. Lack of awareness and understanding amongst parents and teachers can also result in misleading or inaccurate careers advice; and so success stories and role models are paramount to changing perceptions.

Nevertheless, efforts are being made by employers, unions, professional organisations, government, schools, training agencies and others to encourage more women into the construction industry and offer support once in work.

Sustained action to significantly improve both recruitment and retention is far from easy, but as Construction Youth Trust’s #notjustforboys campaign shows, misconceptions, prejudice and bad practices that are at the root of the problem can be over-turned and young people can be inspired to think differently. Worsening skills shortages and the prospect of post-Brexit restrictions on migrant labour mean UK construction will have to recruit more women.

Failure to act will damage our future prosperity.

The new edition of the report is available to download on the Construction Youth Trust website, and includes a brand new preface and brings the report up-to-date in a post-Brexit context where the skills gap is high on both the political and industry’s agenda. The Trust has also sent the report directly to MPs and the parliamentary library, as well as major industry groups and through other networks.

Help Construction Youth Trust show that the construction industry is definitely #notjustforboys – Join the Conversation and help inspire a generation.