Gender Diversity in the Australian Construction Sector

15th January 2022

Gender Diversity in the Australian Construction Sector

As a large-scale employer and one of the pillars of the Australian economy, gender diversity in construction is important to gender diversity in the overall economy. A study between the University of Sydney and Queensland University of Technology found that the construction industry still has a long way to go in terms of gender diversity.

However, both the government and construction industry are taking steps to address this, and many trail-blazing women have achieved success as CEOs, industry leaders and entrepreneurs in construction. Dive into the future of construction with Surf City Cranes.

A Field in Transformative Change

Around the world, construction is one of the most male-dominated parts of the economy, and in Australia, the proportion of female workers has stagnated at 12% for the past thirty years. The proportion of CEOs, board directors and managers who are women are much lower than for other industries.

Though many women study engineering and project management, and enter the construction industry in a variety of roles, women experience a distinct lack of career progression. The study by the University of Sydney and Queensland University of Technology showed that the human resources practices in construction lead to unfair discrimination based on gender, and even in the latest resurgence of gender equality issues, had failed to deliver any transformative change.

Addressing Gender Equality Issues

To tackle this disparity, the Australian government is pushing for construction companies to implement specific policies to address their gender equality issues. Instead of continuing to treat all employees the same – which would mean propagating the existing biases – federal anti-discrimination laws allow for affirmative action to address the promotion of women’s careers.

The construction industry is currently experiencing a skills shortage, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry cannot turn to workers from overseas to fill the gaps. The key lies in making the transformative changes to recruit and promote women into construction. Addressing the masculine perception of construction will help to attract women to the industry, as well as addressing issues such as the tolerance of sexism, inadequate parental leave and flexible working arrangement, and poor career progression.

Future of the Construction Industry

Though the construction industry shows a dearth of women CEOs, there are some trailblazers who are leading the way and opening doors for the women to follow, from crane hire in Brisbane to property development in Sydney.

For example, the construction business SMLXL Projects has a woman in their C-suite, with Lisa Mort as their Chief Operating Officer. This role oversees the business and financial operations, putting a woman in charge of the resource efficiency, performance and strategy that underpin business success.

In another strategy-focussed role, Jessica Jones is the Head of Strategy and Business Development at Balmain and Co. She has key oversight over the business’s future growth and diversification of construction services, as well as representing the business to key partners.

Marie Doyle was a co-founder of her own property development company, Fiducia Property Group, where she now serves as Development Director.

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