Construction: The Economic Benefits of Hiring Females
Author: Vicki Iliopoulos
Published date: 2022/03
With International Women’s Day fast approaching and the recent gender quotas set by the Victorian Government, it’s the perfect time the discuss the benefits of having gender diversity within what’s been a historically male dominated industry: Construction.
First off, I think it’s important to note that within Australia only 2.5% of tradespeople are female. If this number doesn’t surprise to you, I’d be concerned. With construction being the backbone of our economy and an industry that’s heavily prioritised by the government, it’s disappointing. It’s so clear that steps need to be taken to create a balance between genders within the workforce and construction really should be at the forefront of these efforts. So, what is the Australian Government doing about it?
In December of 2021, Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews announced that as of 2024, government construction sites worth over $20mil must adhere to gender quotas. Broken down this quota demands that 4% of apprentices/trainees, 7% of non-trade personnel and 35% of managers, supervisors, and specialist labour roles must go to a female. They’re small goals, but they’re something.
So, outside of government policy, what are the benefits of incising the number of females within the workplace?
Greater Business and Economic Results
Given the end goal of most businesses is profit, the benefits of having females in senior positions becomes harder to ignore. According to McKinsey’s Delivering Through Diversity report, companies that embrace gender diversity on their executive teams are 21% more likely to experience above average profit. A report by KPMG; Ending workforce discrimination against womenhas also found that the Australian economy could be boosted by $60 billion over the next 20 years by having women in the workplace. This only reiterates the financial benefit of gender diversity within our construction businesses.
Aside from the stats, by having gender diverse workplaces, communication methods become for diversified between all the different demographics you have internally. This allows for more ways to attract and deliver successfully to all types of clients externally.
Lacking a female perspective means as an organisation, project or team, certain approaches are overlooked on the basis of perspective – or lack thereof.
There’s no better way to learn and develop than when someone challenges what you know and how you move forward. Having both genders within internal teams will allow for different points of view in every aspect of your business operations. This will allow for those with different life experiences to give input in different sectors, driving learning, growth and ensuring multiple pathways are discussed and actioned in various situations.
Enhanced Collaboration and Knowledge
In addition to a different perspective, diverse workplaces allow for more knowledge and collaboration internally. Collaboration between all types of diverse demographics will create an environment that unearths more solutions and efficient working.
Improved Staff Retention - Job Satisfaction
Having a diverse environment will always create higher job satisfaction and boost company morale. With a more inclusive culture, more females around females and a level of support within the business because of it, employees will stick around. With higher staff retention rates comes less time sourcing and onboarding new team members - or the costs associated with getting a recruitment consultant to do it for you (not so beneficial for me!).
Enhanced Reputation and Recruitment Capabilities
It goes without saying that the better the job satisfaction, the higher the retention rate, but even if we’re recruiting due to growth and opportunity, a more gender diverse environment boosts a business’s reputation and recruitment capabilities.
Of course, construction is a small industry, and a great reputation goes a long way in securing people and projects! A reputation of collaboration and job satisfaction means that a business sells itself and will be able to secure candidates without having to throw more money around. With females’ companies will be able to offer individual preferences such as culture, opportunity and inclusiveness.
As we can see, the government has taken a step in the right direction by introducing these quotas. These quotas set a precedent for other businesses and hopefully create a shift in culture when it comes to women working within construction (whether it be within trades or leadership positions). But of course, each business must themselves recognise the benefits of an increasing female workforce. Our education system must begin to offer trades as a genuine career path for women, and each business within the construction industry must prioritise and take steps in the right direction to hire them.
If you’d like to read more about what needs to change institutionally for gender diversity to become a reality, read my colleague Jess Ondarchie’s blog here.
If you’re someone looking to enter or further your career within the Architecture industry contact Vicki on 0455 332 813 or at vicki.Iliopoulos@fetchrecruit.com.au. You can also view and apply for our latest jobs by hitting the job search tab above.
To see more content like this, connect with Vicki, our Senior Consultant for Architecture on LinkedIn here, and Fetch Recruitment on LinkedIn here.