Recruiting more women into traditionally male-dominated professions such as
plumbing, construction and engineering, is the only way to beat the crippling
skills shortages threatening to derail Britain’s economic growth.
The first part of an investigation by the Equal Opportunities Commission
(EOC) has concluded that sectors with high levels of gender segregation are
suffering severe skills shortages because women are under-represented.
EOC chairwoman Julie Mellor said the report had identified key barriers to
change and she urged employers to widen recruitment pools and develop
strategies that lead to the inclusion of more women in these industries.
"Skills shortages have a significant impact on employers with even high
profile projects, such as Heathrow’s Terminal 5, having problems finding
skilled workers. This investigation has identified real barriers to choice for
employers and individuals.
"Unless we see dramatic action to address them, major skills shortages
will continue to blight individual businesses and damage the wider
economy," she said.
The report also urged the Government to develop a national strategy to
tackle gender segregation including specific targets and incentives for
employers and trainees.
Mellor said the research also highlighted the duality of the problem with
sectors such as childcare experiencing the opposite affect of workplace
segregation and suffering skills shortages because of a lack of male
EOC also found that 90 per cent of people wanted their children to make
career choices without traditional stereotypes based on sex.