Construction Leaders building an alliance to increase female participation in the industry

Female participation continues to grow across many sectors in Irish society, from politics and business to sport and technology. Construction appears to be a last bastion of male-domination in business, however, there is a strong tradition of female leadership in the industry. There are now moves afoot to increase female participation.

The CIF is bringing a number of industry leaders together to address the chronically low levels of female participation in construction.   This is a serious business challenge as construction continues to expand strongly.

According to a recent report carried out by DKM with input from SOLAS, the industry could expand by 33% to €20 billion by 2020. It’s estimated that the industry will require 112,000 additional employees across management, craft and trade to deliver the houses and infrastructure needed support Ireland’s rapidly growing population and economy.

Director of Industrial Relations, Jean Winters said: “The industry will require around 112,000 extra workers to deliver required construction activity over the next decade. From a practical perspective, the industry is limiting its growth potential if it only recruits from 50% of population. From an efficiency perspective, female participation in business decision making has been proven to improve business performance. We, as an industry, cannot continue to allow such low levels of female participation. Other sectors have taken steps with some success and we need to also. We’re using this opportunity, International Women’s Day, to bring together the female leaders of the construction industry to set out a path for industry to increase female participation. At our event, we will also bring together some young women working and studying in construction with a view to building a strong community of female leaders inside the CIF and in the wider industry. ”

The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office, show that just 8% of those involved in construction in Ireland are women. Out of 10,000 state-funded apprenticeships taken up last year, just 33 of these new apprentices were female.

CIF Director-General Tom Parlon said: “I hope the tide is beginning to turn. More young girls must be encouraged to study STEM subjects. This will in turn open up careers in careers in construction for young women, but we can’t wait for this to happen organically. The CIF believes that its members are leading the way in competing for talented female but the industry must look at ways to more rapidly increase participation. The industry is recognising the significant impact that women are making in the area. The CIF is working to bring about a major increase in female participation, both in CIF activities- through our policy and working groups- and in the Construction industry at large.”

“This International Women’s Day the CIF will celebrate the many pioneering women involved in the industry over the years, such as our former President Mirette Corboy and those like her, who have become not only leaders in their field of expertise, but role models for the generations of young women and girls following them”

The CIF is hosting Breakfast Briefing: Increasing Female Participation in Construction on Wednesday 8th March to mark International Women’s Day.

This event will celebrate the achievements of women in the industry and start a discussion around attracting more women into Construction, while providing an opportunity for those entering the industry to network with female leaders in the area.