Research published today by the CIPR Construction and Property Group reveals over three-quarters (77%) of women PRs are proud to work in the construction sector and 67% would recommend it to other women.
A survey of 163 women working in communication and marketing roles across the construction and property industries between February and April this year, commissioned by the CIPR Construction and Property Group (CAPSIG) and carried out by JFG Communications, found women overwhelmingly reported feeling proud to work in the construction sector.
When asked about career progression, almost 90% of those who took part agreed the construction sector offers a wide range of interesting projects to work on. However, the industry needs to ‘shout’ more about the great things it is doing and the exciting projects it offers, according to those questioned.
This is the first time research has been carried out with the niche group of women who work in construction PR.
The level of pride women feel at working in the sector despite is fantastic. The women who took part were especially proud to be involved in an industry that shapes the world around us. The more women thought there are a wide range of interesting projects to work on, the more proud they felt working in the sector.
Those who took part also felt the industry is changing for the better and said they were proud to be part of making a positive change.
However, women’s perceptions of construction industry culture were slightly more negative, with over three-quarters (76%) believing the sector is ‘macho’. Just over one-third (38%) believe the sector is an attractive place for women to work and only 14% of those questioned believe women and men are treated equally.
When asked about gender issues in construction, a large proportion of women (61%) reported experiencing unconscious bias. ‘Conscious’ bias was also reported, where women were subjected to jokes about ‘making the coffee’ or ‘making the sandwiches’.
According to those questioned, the construction sector has been slow to adapt to flexible working, even though over four-fifths (88%) of those who took part thought more flexible working would attract women into the industry.
The survey findings also revealed a lack of mentors and sponsors for women in construction PR. Four-fifths of those questioned did not have a mentor or a sponsor but over half (54%) would like one.
The report recommends five key areas where CAPSIG could support women working in construction PR and marketing roles:
- Promote and encourage flexible working
- Support the sector to promote and provide women’s staff network groups
- Support the sector to promote a positive image
- Launch a mentoring scheme
- Provide a service to help members address challenges
The UK construction industry’s lack of diversity has been an ongoing issue in the sector. We carried out this research because we wanted to build on the CIPR’s existing gender research and to understand how we can better support our female members.
The survey findings show several areas where CAPSIG can support women in construction PR and marketing, and the wider construction sector, in improving gender balance. But we can all take the recommendations on board and take action to drive positive change.