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More Women Needed In The Construction Industry

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Rap Interiors

The Construction Sector is one of the largest in the economy, contributing £103 billion to the UK economy and 6.5% of the total. This comprises over 280,000 businesses, covering some 2.93 million jobs.

There are many pre-conceived ideas for a woman working in the construction industry. You may think it is a tough and dirty “boys club” with limited career choices. You may think that it is unsafe and lacking of innovation; or even that technology is not part of what we do.

The core values that make the industry, such as collaboration, innovation, positive outcome and sustainability are the drives which could help attract more women and paint a more attractive image as an industry.

Rap Interiors' Kent office designers Rap Interiors' Kent office designers

As it currently stands, women make around 14% of construction professionals, with only 1% of those actually working on site. This is most likely because there is a stereotype surrounding construction that tends to put women off the idea of working in the industry.

However, the rate at which women are embarking on careers in construction is at an all-time high, with four times as many entering the industry now as they did five years ago. They are expected to make up a quarter of all workers in UK construction by 2020 and will play an important part in counteracting the emerging skills gap.

A woman with a hard hat A woman with a hard hat

There has been great improvement in the numbers of women that hold mid-level management positions. The existing gaps lie in the percentage of women who move into more strategic positions. Within larger industry firms, this could be the Project Manager role, Senior Engineer, Senior Architect and positions that have high level leadership titles. Experts have pointed to the lack of women at all levels of the industry as one of the main factors contributing to the ongoing labour shortage.

More than a million extra workers are needed by 2020 to keep up with UK growth and build the necessary 300,000 new homes a year. Women are expected to account for a significant portion of that, many of them in senior roles.

Building being built in the UK Building being built in the UK

Construction is the bedrock of society, promoting sustainable growth and infrastructure for future generations. One in five women (22%) described this sense of achievement as their favourite aspect of the job. Another top factor though was the variety of work (32%).

The construction industry offers many roles for women – office and site based – which allow you to become a key part of a team (as big or small as you are comfortable with). These include front end jobs such as Land Buyer, Developer, Solicitor, Architect, Surveyor, Planning Advisor, Project Manager, and Design Engineer. Then there are those involved in the build, such as the Contractor, Site Manager, and Site Engineer. Finally there are the Trades, which includes Electricians, Plumbers, Decorators, etc.

Young girl learning about construction Young girl learning about construction

You could be working in infrastructure projects, city planning in some of Europe’s largest master plans, or a small one-off eco house. The British construction industry offers something for everyone. Therefore, if you want a fulfilling career that will allow you to shape the future of your city, this industry is for you.

There are so many diverse areas in construction. We need buyers, designers, CAD operators, surveyors, accounts people and project managers. Marketing, Sales, Estimating, Surveying and Project Purchasing are other areas you could pursue a career in. You don’t have to wear a hard hat to become involved!

Social media also plays a big part in promoting your brand, and it is now your shop window. This industry has had to re-invent itself on the internet, whereas before you used to rely on your site signs for promotion. Like any business, there is a need for this industry to keep up with website marketing because Google is now the key hub of where we find everything.

Rap Interiors' accounts manager and office manager Rap Interiors' accounts manager and office manager

More and more women are seeing the benefit of joining an industry that has become very welcoming, with plenty of local and national networking groups available. Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce is launching Kent Women in Construction – a network of females in this industry who can discuss and learn from each other about the opportunities for career development. For information on joining this group contactJo@kentinvictachamber.co.uk

Rap Interiors Design Director Julie Anderson Rap Interiors Design Director Julie Anderson

Rap Interiors Director Julie Anderson comments: “I never considered this industry but having spent 10 years in a Bank, progressing to have a business as a Florist and then owning my own food café, I ended up in Design in Construction. This role has kept my attention more than any other and is a fun, creative and safe industry to work in. No one will ever stop building so it’s for life with great rewards. I’ve never looked back. Every day is different and I love meeting new clients and meeting their needs.”

julie anderson and emily barton at the unsung hero awards in kent julie anderson and emily barton at the unsung hero awards in kent

Rap Interiors Operations Manager Emily Barton comments: “After finishing my art degree I wanted to get into something creative however I really struggled to find something within that industry. The opportunity came up for digital marketing at Rap Interiors and I never thought social media or a website was something that a construction company would think about but was keen to give it a go – and I have never looked back. Now after managing the website, social media, videos and all aspects of marketing I like to think of us a lead in our industry (for marketing), we have even had other construction companies in Kent ask us for our advice. I couldn’t imagine working for any other industry as I get to be creative without a hard hat!”

Rap Interiors is one of the South East’s leading office fit out companies, with offices in London, Croydon, Brighton and Kent. Our award winning designers pride themselves on producing cutting edge interior transformations and will live and breathe your project until completion.

Want your business or school transformation designed by Rap’s interior design team? Contact us now on 0333 600 1234 or email refurb@rapinteriors.co.uk.