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Report calls for more women in construction


A major report has been released which makes key recommendations to boost the number of women working in construction across NSW. 

The Building Commission NSW Women in Construction Report provides informed recommendations to increase female participation in the industry and address some of the systemic challenges they face in their career.

The recommendations outlined in the report provide a roadmap to help address key barriers to attracting and retaining women, addressing negative perceptions, raising business and HR knowledge, and improving workplace culture in the construction industry.

With more than 100,000 skilled construction workers needed to meet the demand for housing supply in NSW, the report confronts longstanding issues which need to be addressed to meet productivity aims.

Small to medium construction businesses account for 80 per cent of the industry and employ less than five per cent of women. Thirty-five per cent of these businesses employ no women at all.

The report reveals 71 per cent of women employed in these businesses have experienced discrimination, with one in two women experiencing sexual harassment.

The report also found some small business employers are reluctant to hire women due to fears of being held legally responsible for any inappropriate behaviour by male employees in the workplace.

Forty-two per cent of male employers also perceive the physical demands of the work as too high for women compared to 13 per cent of female employers.

More than 1700 people across NSW participated in the research representing a broad cross-section of the community including men, women, students, and the general public.

Read the research report and key findings.

The NSW Government’s Industry Innovation Program is being delivered as part of the $20.2 million Women in Construction Program, with NSW Government Industry Innovation Program Year 2 grants open until 2pm, 19 February 2024.

NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler said the report provided informed recommendations to increase women’s participation in the industry and address some of the systemic challenges they faced.

“By improving the workplace for all genders, it will encourage more women to join the industry and help to address the projected shortfall of 100,000 skilled construction workers,” he said.

“I am calling on all industry stakeholders to consider the findings and actionable recommendations.

“The participation and retention of women across NSW in the construction industry will deliver the benefits of a more diverse and inclusive industry which increases innovation, improves productivity, and leads to stronger economic performance.”

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