More women and ethnic minorities in construction apprenticeships than ever before

The construction industry is undergoing a positive change that reflects wider society. 

Let’s go, girls. According to Protrade, around 10% of individuals starting construction apprenticeships in 2022-23 were young women. This marks a 2% increase from the previous year.  

Traditionally viewed as a domain dominated by middle-aged white men, the construction industry is undergoing a transformation. This is all being driven by advances in technology and a growing recognition of the benefits of diversity, like increased innovation, creativity, and productivity. 

Ethnic minorities entering construction apprenticeships is on the up

Similarly, ethnic minorities have historically been underrepresented in construction. However, recent data shows a positive trend in apprenticeship uptake among ethnic minority groups. Nearly 8% of apprentices in the latest cohort came from ethnic minority backgrounds, representing a 1% increase from the previous year.  

Systemic inequality in the construction sector

While all of this progress is promising, it highlights the systemic inequalities that are in place right now. Currently, women and people from minority backgrounds still face challenges in considering construction careers. 57% of women and girls feel discouraged from entering the construction sector due to its perceived male-dominated nature, according to research from Morgan Sindall.  

Despite people from Black, Asian, and ethnic minority backgrounds constituting 13.8% of the UK population, they make up less than 6% of individuals in the construction industry. 

Furthermore, just 14.7% of workers in the construction industry*, and 16.5% of engineers† in the UK, are female.  

Why the construction industry should diversify

Gender and ethnic diversity in the construction workforce remain below national averages, and marginalised groups continue to face challenges in accessing and thriving in the industry. Initiatives such as mentorship programs, targeted recruitment efforts, and diversity training are essential in addressing these disparities and creating a more equitable construction sector. 

Speaking to PCB Today, joint managing director at Protrade, Craig Sanders, said: “There has been a shift. As more and more women enter the industry, the old stereotypes are being removed. 

“We are seeing [the construction sector] slowly becoming more inclusive but there is still a long way and many more hurdles to overcome to be at the same level as other leading industries with regards to diversity.” 

Image: Canva



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