May 16, 2020

Gender diversity in the construction industry

Gender diversity
gender equality
UK
construction
NiftyLift
4 min
Gender diversity
One in five construction companies in the UK have no women in senior roles. With some industry professionals believing that ‘there is a definite preju...

One in five construction companies in the UK have no women in senior roles. With some industry professionals believing that ‘there is a definite prejudice against women’ in the construction industry, there appears to still be an inequality of opportunity for women.

According to Construction News, half of all construction firms claim they have never had a female manager within their business — a shocking figure when gender diversity and equality is such a pressing issue. What is even more striking is that, when asking the women who did work within the industry, 48% claimed they had experienced gender discrimination in the workplace, with the most common example of this (28%) being inappropriate comments or behaviour from male colleagues. These are figures that prove that the industry still needs to enforce more regulations to change attitudes towards women in the industry and encourage equality.

See also:

And a gender pay gap also appears to be a big issue still circulating within the industry. Nearly half of construction companies (42%) do not monitor equal pay between gender in the business and 68% were not aware of any initiatives to support women transitioning into senior roles. Furthermore, according to Randstad, 79% of men believe they earn the same as their female colleagues in the same position. However 41% of women disagree — highlighting the need for better pay transparency within the industry to dispel perceptions that men are earning more.

With a clear gender divide within the construction industry, Niftylift explores how the industry can close the gender gap and improve diversity among construction roles. What does the future look like for women in construction?

Moving forward

When it comes to on-site construction workers, statistics reveal that 99% of roles are filled by males. Another figure that highlights the lack of gender diversity within the industry. Despite the figures, 93% of construction workers believe having a female boss would not affect their jobs, or would in fact have a positive effect by improving the working environment.

However, according to Randstad, by 2020, women are expected to make up just over a quarter of the UK’s construction workforce. If the industry intends on closing the skills gap, women could potentially hold the key. With the industry raising concerns that it is experiencing a shortage of skilled workers, 82% of people working in construction agree that there is a serious skills shortage. If demand is expected to require an additional million extra workers by 2020, women could account for a significant portion of that — especially in senior roles, which have previously been bias towards their male colleagues.

Whilst we still see a significant difference in the number of females in senior roles compared with their male colleagues, we have experienced some progress over recent years. Back in 2005, there were just 6% of women in senior roles within the UK’s construction industry. However, fast forward to 2015, and this number had risen to 16% and is expected to continue to rise as we approach 2020.

Similar progression is apparent when it comes to construction companies offering promotion opportunities for women in the industry. Back in 2005, an unfortunate 79% of women in the industry were dissatisfied with the progression of their careers. However, fast forward again to 2015, and this number more than halved to just 29%, with some of this progression likely to be attributed to the fact that almost half of women in the industry (49%) believe their employer to be very supportive of women in construction.

Whilst these figures show promise, the construction industry still has some work to do to achieve gender equality. Ranstad also reports that there remains a tendency within the industry to exclude women from male conversations or social events, with 46% of females experiencing being sidelined. A further 28% said they had been offered a less important role and 25% reported being passed over for promotion.

Despite the incidences of discrimination, 76% of women said they would still recommend a job in construction to a female friend, daughter or niece — and with a 60% increase in the average annual salary for women in the industry in the past decade from £24,500 in 2005 to £39,200 in 2015, there is no denying that progress is being made to combat gender inequality. But we still have a long way to go. Hopefully, by 2020, we can report further progress in the industry, making roles more attractive to females, and improving the gender diversity which could consequently prove to be a solution to the lack of skilled workers for the industry right now.

Article by NiftyLift

Share article

Jun 24, 2021

Which countries are leading the adoption of BIM?

PlanRadar
BIM
research
DigitalConstruction
4 min
As Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology becomes more widely used, we take a look at which countries are leading the way in its adoption

Building Information Modelling (BIM) was first used by UK construction firms in the 1980s. Since then an increasing number of countries such as Germany, Austria, and Russia have also started to use it, but which country is leading the way? 

According to research by PlanRadar, the UK, as of 2021, remains the leader in BIM implementation in construction when compared with other European nations. However, the company’s research shows that there is clear evidence other countries in close pursuit.

As part of the research into the adoption of BIM, PlanRadar examined government policy documents and conducted interviews to find out why BIM is being deployed in each country. The study also allowed the company to gauge construction professionals’ attitudes to digital technology tools in their industry, as well as explore where fast growth rates in BIM are most likely in the coming years. In addition, it looked at which governments have progressed furthest in making construction BIM mandatory. 

 

Image: PlanRadar

 

PlanRadar says the findings are “a useful follow-up to the recently published Construction Manager BIM annual survey”, which pinpoints distinct barriers to adoption in the UK market.

While Britain has long been considered a pioneer in BIM technology, with projects such as the Heathrow Airport reconstruction, it seems that Russia is catching up. Even though its first BIM projects only appeared in 2014, PlanRadar says that the country “is on a steep upward trajectory”. According to the research, no other European country has adopted so many laws on standardisation and the mandatory implementation of BIM in the construction industry.

 

Image: PlanRadar
Image: PlanRadar

 

“Russia is arguably the most eagle-eyed nation for compliance and harnessing advanced BIM tech to drive efficiencies”, the company said. 

Germany’s BIM adoption is also rapidly increasing as its government invests in BIM standardisation, skills training, and support for BIM projects, in line with its vision for the future digitalisation of the German construction sector.

PlanRadar research summary

As part of its research into the adoption of Building Information Modelling, PlanRadar has summarised each country. According to the company, here are the summaries for the UK, Germany, Russia, and France. 

UK:

  • The UK has the highest number of construction companies using BIM at level 2 and beyond.  
  • It remains the leader in the earliest use and implementation of BIM in construction projects. 
  • Since 2016 all state-funded projects must use at least BIM level 2, and this has led to a surge in awareness and use of BIM in the last decade. For private projects, BIM usage is advised but not mandatory. 
  • Currently, only 62% of small businesses in the UK actively use BIM, compared to 80% of large businesses.

Germany: 

  • Approximately 70% of German construction companies use BIM at different levels. However, the majority are architects and design companies, making use of BIM in the design phase rather than construction and operation. 
  • Since 2017, BIM has been mandatory for projects worth over €100 million. And from 31st December 2020, BIM became mandatory for all public contracts relating to the building of federal infrastructure.

Russia:

  • BIM technology is used by very large property developers and construction companies that operate in the largest cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Ufa, Yekaterinburg.
  • When it comes to legislation standardising and mandating BIM, Russia is the clear leader, and today there are 15 national standards (GOSTs) and eight sets of rules for information modelling in the country. 
  • From March 2022, all government projects are required to use BIM technology, and further legislation is in the pipeline.

France: 

  • France does not yet have a single BIM standard enshrined in law or regulation, yet 35% of developers in France use BIM for their real estate projects. 
  • In addition, 50 to 60% of the leaders in the French construction market have switched to BIM, with level 2 as the most common maturity level. 
  • At the end of 2018, BIM Plan 2022 was launched to encourage construction participants to integrate it into their workflows. Still, construction companies have struggled to agree since there is no single approved BIM standard. 

The research report concluded that the adoption of BIM is yet to reach its full potential in Europe. While the UK is currently the leader, countries such as Russia and Germany are evidently forging a clear path and have goals surrounding skills and legal frameworks. PlanRadar says that next year’s European BIM ranking “could paint a very different picture”.

 

Share article