As the construction industry faces a record skills deficit, with 40% of the industry looking to retire before 2030, the intention of increasing numbers of women to work in the sector has provided shoots of optimism for narrowing the skills deficit.

Recent analysis reveals that more young women are beginning careers in the construction industry than ever before. Despite this growth, there is still considerable work required to enhance diversity within the construction sector. Clive Holland, broadcaster on Fix Radio – the UK’s only national radio station dedicated to tradespeople – sheds light on the rise of women pursuing careers within the construction industry. 
According to Morgan Siddall’s report “Are we Gen Z ready?”, 57% of women and girls are deterred from pursuing careers in construction due to their perception of it as male dominated. Supporting this notion, data published by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) indicates that only 12.37% of engineers in the UK are female. The construction sector still falls far behind other industries in terms of gender balance, with only 14.7% of those employed in the industry being women, nearly 33% lower than the UK average.
The state of construction apprenticeships:
In the last five years, there has been little improvement in apprenticeship uptake within construction since 2018. The latest drop highlights the ongoing struggle of the sector to attract people amidst the skills shortage crisis. Due to a shortage of 225,000 tradespeople in construction and trades in the UK, 83% of construction businesses are currently strained by a lack of skilled workers, according to a survey by Search Consultancy.
Clive Holland, broadcaster on Fix Radio, comments on the impact of Britain’s skills deficit:
“Data from the Department for Education has revealed that the number of completed apprenticeships in England fell from 12,420 in 2018 to 7,700 in 2022. To put this issue under the microscope, 17,500 people apply for apprenticeships as electricians every year, yet only 2,500 pass their courses annually, while a further 8,000 electricians leave the industry each year.
“Our industry is losing record numbers of colleagues, with nowhere near enough new recruits entering the trade.”

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