It may seem that getting a job in construction as a woman isn’t very easy as currently just 13% of the UK’s construction workforce consists of women, but more and more women are joining and excelling in the industry. Not relegated to office-bound administrative positions, women are represented across the industry. Found in senior management positions or directorships, as quantity surveyors and architects, and in more hands-on positions like engineers and carpenters. Read our article on the highest paying jobs in the construction industry to find out what you can work towards.
So, how do you get a job in construction as a woman? Firstly, you need to determine which role you’re interested in. This can range from being a site manager to carpentry or designing buildings as an architect.
You need to take your interests and abilities into account. If you’re not strong physically, then physical labour like painting, tiling, and roofing will not be the best fit. If you’re good with people, marketing or management may be the way to go. Like paperwork? Then a job like an office manager could be a great option.
The best way to find out which job will best suit you is to talk to industry experts or do some work experience.
Work experience is when you shadow a professional in the field for a certain amount of time. This will help you to get a feel for the field and role you’re interested in before you make a long-term commitment. Secondly, you can network and build up contacts in the field, which will be useful in the future. Lastly, it looks good on your CV and may even lead to job opportunities.
To provide you with a good start in the industry, an apprenticeship is a great solution. Especially if you already know which field you’re interested in and you don’t have any experience. Apprenticeships are jobs that provide you with on-the-job training. It’s usually open for anyone aged 16 and older.
As an apprentice, you’ll be earning a wage while you master your chosen craft. Although you’ll start at the bottom of the career ladder, you’ll have opportunities for promotion, or maybe even for opening your own business.
If you are qualified but worked in a different industry, you may have some skills that will be useful in the construction industry. These transferable skills can help you impress recruiters and include:
- Communication skills – ability to get your point across, can voice concerns and needs, communicate well with colleagues and clients
- Management skills – coordination and management of crews, ability to identify team members’ strengths and weaknesses
- Clerical skills – proficiency in understanding and doing paperwork, ability to organise, time management
- Technology skills – the ability to master using new machines, apps, and software
- Problem-solving and critical thinking
Institutions that can help
Besides employers and legislation that promote gender equality in the workplace, there are also organisations that assist women in construction. One such organisation is Women into Construction, based in London. Since 2015, this independent, not-for-profit has provided women interested in the construction industry with advice, guidance, training, work placement, jobs, mentoring and resources. They currently support women in London, Birmingham, Essex, and Cambridge.
The Construction Youth Trust is “a charity whose aim is to inspire and enable young people to overcome barriers and discover a career in the construction and built environment sector.” Read about some of the women they assisted.
Women in Construction UK Magazine is a quarterly trade publication. It features industry news and interviews with inspirational women in the industry. You will also find product and project information. This is a great way to learn more about women in the industry and keep up with industry trends and news.
Are you ready to take your first steps into the construction industry? Contact Simpson Dean for advice on your transferable skills and the vacancies we have available. Get more great job advice and tips in the range of articles on our blog.