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Gender Pay Gap Report: Construction Must Try Harder

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East


Last week, the 4 April deadline passed, and all eligible companies should have reported their gender pay gap. The results, perhaps unsurprisingly, show that the construction sector has the biggest gender pay gap of any UK industry, at 25%. We have known of the under-representation of women in the industry for many years, so this is nothing new but hopefully the publicity around the results will prioritise the issue in boardrooms and kickstart actions.

The new government regulations required businesses with more than 250 employees to publish:

  • Their gender pay gap (mean and median)
  • Their gender bonus pay gap (mean and median)
  • Proportion of men and women receiving a bonus
  • Proportion of men and women in each quartile of the organisation’s pay structure.

It must be stressed that the gender pay gap reported is not about the salaries people are paid or ‘equal pay for equal work’. The issue highlighted is the number of women in organisations and the levels at which they are employed.

Construction needs more women at all levels, from the boardroom to trades on site. Companies need to consider the cultures within their organisations and how they recruit, retain and promote people. Do their current policies and procedures allow unconscious bias to influence who are given opportunities? Are there senior female role models in the organisation for women to aspire to? Do they value difference and celebrate diversity of people, ideas and management styles?

The pay gap data is supported by numerous other surveys, including a recent Randstad report which highlighted 75% of industry employees passed over for a more senior role were women. Women were also three times more likely to miss out on promotion in the industry and 49% of those questioned had never worked with a female manager. None of which is a surprise.

Following the report, many of the leading employers have announced that they are actively seeking to recruit more women into senior roles. Kier aims to establish a 70:30 male-female gender split at graduate level and Balfour Beatty has a three-year plan involving mentoring and unconscious bias programmes to encourage more women to join and seek career progression.

On 25 April CENE are hosting an Introductory Workshop on Fairness, Inclusion and Respect in Construction. The event is free to attend and will enable attendees to discuss ideas and initiatives to support their workforce and realise the business benefits.

To register for this event please contact Amy Holmes on 0191 5007880 or amy@cene.org.uk

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