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The construction industry is one of the largest employers in the UK with an estimated 3 million workers and it is still growing. The Construction Industry Training Board, CITB, estimates that in order to meet current demand the industry will need to recruit a further quarter of a million workers by 2019. 
With numbers that large it is still surprising for many that women in construction still only make up 1% of site staff and 11% of workers in the industry overall. Thanks to the work of a number of groups it is hoped that, and we really need to stress the “hope” part of that, that by 2020 women will make up a quarter of the workforce, but let’s be honest it still isn’t enough. 
The construction industry is one of the largest employers in the UK with an estimated 3 million workers and it is still growing. The Construction Industry Training Board, CITB, estimates that in order to meet current demand the industry will need to recruit a further quarter of a million workers by 2019. 
With numbers that large it is still surprising for many that women in construction still only make up 1% of site staff and 11% of workers in the industry overall. Thanks to the work of a number of groups it is hoped that, and we really need to stress the “hope” part of that, that by 2020 women will make up a quarter of the workforce, but let’s be honest it still isn’t enough. 
Everyone in the industry knows the importance of encouraging more young people to enter it. We have an aging workforce and a growing skills shortage which desperately needs to be tackled if we are to meet the needs of the future growth.If the training and attitude of the students we have met at various seminars and schools are anything to go by then the industry can breathe a deep sigh of relief that there are some great candidates coming through. Candidates who will bring fresh insights and the drive needed to help the industry break out of traditional mind-sets and embrace the future. What was disconcerting, however, is the gender imbalance among the students. From speaking to female students at events it is clear that there are still concerns that the industry is not geared up to allow for women to work equally on site. 
Why is this though? We live in an age of female world leaders, CEO’s, entrepreneurs, millionaires, billionaires, pilots, doctors, and lawyers, all manner of industries and positions where they demonstrate day on day the benefits of equality. We live in a world where the glass ceiling is being broken, slowly, and the old concepts of “women’s roles” questioned and altered, yet in construction there is still a perception that women cannot find a place unless they act like one of the boys. 
We need more women in the industry. Not just because there is no reason why there shouldn’t be equal opportunities, although this is crucial, but because men and women are different. We think in different ways. What we need isn’t women entering the industry and trying to act like one of the guys and thinking the same way. We need people who will come at a problem from a different angle, people who will react to situations in different ways. We need fresh ideas and new insights to keep this great industry moving forward. 
For the future of construction gender equality needs to be seen not as something to be hoped for but something to be achieved. We need the best and the brightest to create the next generation of projects and gender should have no impact on this. The recent rise of the #metoocampaign and “Times Up” have highlighted just how far certain areas, and people, need to go in bringing this about. This is the construction industry’s opportunity to act as a benchmark for other sectors and step up to the plate. 
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