Construction must attract more women to solve Irish housing and infrastructure crises

The Construction Industry Federation will host its second Women in Construction Network event on Tuesday 26th of September.

The event #BuildingEquality will see the official launch of the CIF’s first Women in Construction Network.  The objective of the network is to increase the number of women working in the construction industry.  A recent report by the CIF showed that the industry needed an additional 112,000 employees to deliver housing and infrastructure the Irish economy and society requires.

Earlier this year, the CIF welcomed over 100 senior leaders to a briefing entitled ‘Increasing Female Participation in Construction’ to mark International Women’s Day. The very clear message from this event was that the CIF should expand its leadership role in promoting gender equality within the construction industry.

CIF Director, Industrial Relations, Jean Winters, said: “We have many women working in senior positions across construction.  Through our network we are aiming to harness the skills and commitment of this cohort to increase overall the numbers of women working at all levels in the industry. With so many women in key roles in construction, I believe we can really bring about a positive change in this industry.  Increasing diversity and gender equality is not just the right thing to do; in our industry, we face significant skills shortages in light of the huge amount of construction activity in the pipeline and recruiting more women into industry is critical.  As our industry recovers and evolves, we are increasingly competing with other sectors for talented young people who are concerned about equality and diversity.”

Jean will be joined at the #BuildingEquality event by Michelle Cullen, Managing Director of Accenture, Irish Defence Forces, Chief-of-Staff, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, Anne Dooley, Group Projects Director at Winthrop, Nikki Gallagher, Communication Director with SOLAS and CIF President Dominic Doheny.

CIF, President, Dominic Doheny said: “Increasing the number of women in construction is a key objective of the CIF from this point on. This network will focus on removing barriers to women building careers in construction. It won’t be easy but with the group of industry leaders we have gathered around this issue and the commitment of the CIF, we will make a difference. The network will be tasked with identifying key barriers to equality and to develop a strategy to address these also.  I believe that from the youngest age, young girls are dissuaded from even considering working in construction and engineering.  By the time, these young girls have grown up they have been consciously and unconsciously barred from our industry. We, as an industry, need to address this. We also need to work more closely with the education system to ensure that female students know that they are welcome in our industry and that they can build fantastic and fulfilling careers here. I believe that a national awareness campaign fronted by the representative bodies in construction such as the CIF, Engineers Ireland, the Society of the Chartered Surveyors of Ireland and the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland and supported by the Government, should be launched to demonstrate the careers available to women in construction.”

Tom Parlon, CIF Director General said; “The construction industry requires up to 112,000 additional workers up to 2020 so we need to make our industry more attractive to young people. They, and their parents, need to feel comfortable that there are sustainable careers in construction before they will commit to our industry. So firstly, it’s important to point out that our industry is on a positive growth trajectory for the next 3-5 years and is expected to grow by 9% year on year.  The industry is changing and there are increasingly more tech-driven job opportunities, in addition to marketing, finance, IT roles in Irish construction companies operating in Ireland and around the world.  Construction is one of the universal languages of global commerce and if you’re trained in Ireland, you are likely to be able to secure work around the world. There are so many varied and interesting career paths in construction in addition to the traditional on-site trades for both men and women.  The CIF Women in Construction Network will challenge the misperception that construction only provides careers for men.  We have a great group of men and women within the network and the CIF will be leveraging their insight, ability, talent and connections to do so.”

For more information contact CIF Communications Executive Joanna Kiernan on or phone 087 1671306