Construction industry is improving its diversity

I read with interest your article ‘Women fail to break down barriers on the building site’ (Personnel Today, 11 October).

Construction is an industry with an image problem. But it is an image we are working hard to address, and I did not feel your piece reflected the strides being taken.

It is hard to communicate change when the media insists on using stereotypes – wolf-whistling brickies are a thing of the past in the modern construction sector.

Our ‘Positive Image’ campaign this year focused on attracting more women – emphasising the graduate and technical roles that are available in our industry. We have launched a £1m scholarship campaign to support young women doing construction-related degree courses.

The Equal Opportunities Commission report (Free to Choose) to which Hill McGlynn referred actually praised the industry as an exemplar of best practice in equal opportunities recruitment.

Also, our outreach programmes are leading to results. Contrary to your article, 10% (250,000) of the sector’s employees are women, and the growth rate of female staff is keeping pace with overall growth of people working in our industry. We would like it to outstrip total growth, but this is a great base from which to work.

Your article failed to reflect the work that is being done to change the perceptions and experiences women have of our industry. I hope that this goes some way to setting the record straight.

Paul Sykes
Recruitment manager, CITB-ConstructionSkills

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