WOMEN IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
I was interested to read recently an article about women in the construction industry.
According to a survey carried out by CareerStructure.com they found that over half of built environment professionals surveyed, less than 10% of them were female.
The article suggested that the industry would need to introduce a quota to ensure that a certain amount of women become employed in the sector.
According to Buildingtalk “The measure of a quota would also help address the shortfalls in female talent” with shortfalls of 28% in the oil, gas and power sector and 17% in both engineering and building services.
This didn’t surprise me or enrage me. I am not a feminist, nor am I opposed to women working in the building sector. I am more of a realist.
As a woman within the building industry, albeit office based, I can see the pros and cons of women in the industry.
Not all women are physically capable of shifting blocks or heaving cement-laden wheelbarrows around site. But some women are and some men aren’t.
Not all women want to be covered in plaster, dirt or concrete everyday. But some women do and some men don’t.
Do we really need quotas for this?
The construction industry should employ people on their abilities, not their gender. If a woman was physically capable and willing to do the job, then they should be given the same chance as any man. However, she shouldn’t be given the job just because she is a woman. Other factors need to be taken into consideration; her ability to fit into a team, enthusiasm, and experience – just as you would expect from a man.
I can see that the experience may be an issue if women aren’t given the opportunity, but just like young people they need to be given a chance to prove themselves.
But, from an employers point of view, if you are filling a vacancy and you need a job to be done efficiently, and the choice is between a man with experience and a woman without, then the employer may choose the man on this occasion to get the job done quickly. It would all depend on the circumstances of each job.
If we introduce quotas, then employers may have to employ women who may be willing, but not physically able to do all manual jobs. They may give the less physical jobs to the women, which would defeat the object of the quota! Also, may cause friction between the other team members who may want a break from heavy manual work every once in a while.
Are we going to see quotas in the beauty sector? Will they have to employ a certain amount of male nail technicians to fulfil their quota?
Maybe, but is it necessary? Surely common sense should prevail. Everybody should be able to work in whatever sector they feel comfortable, regardless of gender.