Breaking Barriers: Women Storming the Construction Sector, Reveals Redrow Study

An Unprecedented Shift in Gender Dynamics and Career Choices in the UK Construction Industry

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Key Takeaways:

  • A significant rise in young women entering the construction sector, with 66% showing interest.
  • High salary potential and long-term career opportunities are key motivators.
  • Apprenticeships gaining traction over university education among young people for career advancement.

A Paradigm Shift in Construction

The latest research from Redrow, a premium housebuilder, reveals a seismic shift in the construction industry’s gender dynamics. The study finds that 66% of young women are either working in, have considered, or are open to careers in construction, marking a 17% increase from the previous year. This indicates a diminishing ‘boys only club’ perception in a traditionally male-dominated field.

Motivators Behind the Change

Young women are increasingly drawn to the construction sector due to its potential for high salaries (39%) and opportunities for long-term careers (26%). The rise in female and LGBTQ leaders within companies is also inspiring more women to join the industry.

The Rise of Apprenticeships

In the wake of National Apprenticeship Week, Redrow’s report uncovers a growing preference for apprenticeships over university education. 37% of young people now consider apprenticeships more valuable for their career paths, highlighting a paradigm shift in educational choices.

Challenging Traditional Education Routes

Despite the rising popularity of apprenticeships, there’s a notable gap in the advice offered by schools and parents. The survey indicates that university education is still more encouraged in schools, and many parents lack sufficient knowledge about apprenticeships.

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The Stigma of Apprenticeships

The research also sheds light on the stigma associated with apprenticeships. Nearly half of the respondents feel there’s a general stigma around being an apprentice as opposed to pursuing higher education. This perception is slowly changing, however, as parents begin to see apprenticeships as a viable path to financial independence and skill development.

Parents Rethink Education Choices

The ongoing cost-of-living crisis is causing many parents to reevaluate their attitudes towards further education. Two-thirds of parents would now encourage their children into apprenticeships, seeing them as a way to avoid student debt and gain relevant career skills.

Challenging Construction Perceptions

In 2020, over two-fifths of young people viewed construction as male-dominated. In 2024, this perception has decreased slightly to 39%. The increasing consideration of construction careers among young people reflects a broader shift in industry perceptions.

Apprenticeship Opportunities in Construction

Redrow is responding to this shift by offering over 40 trade positions nationwide. Emily Shaw, an apprentice in Redrow’s commercial department, shares her positive experience in the construction industry, highlighting the supportive learning environment and practical skills gained.

Redrow’s Role in Industry Transformation

Karen Jones, HR Director at Redrow, emphasizes the need for more women in the construction industry. “The construction industry is such an exciting one to be in, and there needs to be more women coming into the industry,” she states. Redrow’s initiatives aim to make the workplace more inclusive and diverse.

Conclusion: A New Era in Construction

The findings of Redrow’s study signal a new era in the UK construction industry, with more women entering the sector and a growing preference for apprenticeships. This shift challenges traditional perceptions and opens up new opportunities for career development in construction.

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