Traditionally, construction has been considered a male dominated sector. In advance of the economic crash in 2007, it was the norm for those who had finished the Junior Certificate to leave school and start working in construction as the minimum age for an apprenticeship is 16.
In the downturn of 2008, unemployment rates rose, and jobs weren’t as plentiful. This encouraged a higher proportion of school goers, mainly boys, to complete their Leaving Certificate and go on to study at third level. However, this trend has remained and with the turnaround of the economy and a focus on construction once again, labourers are not as widely or readily available like before.
Construction now accounts for 3.1% of the workforce, employing approx. 147,500 people. According to the latest CSO figures, around 135,000 men work in construction, while only 12,500 women are employed in the sector. With women only making up 8.5% of the construction workforce, the industry is calling for a change and is encouraging more women to consider a job in the industry.
With such a vast difference between figures, efforts have been made in recent years to close the gap. A recent example includes a national campaign aimed at encouraging women to take up jobs in construction by the Construction Industry Federation. The CIF are continuing to strengthen women’s presence in the field by promoting key female role models within the industry. The campaign has seen widespread support from the construction sector with buy-in from companies and stakeholders alike.
Interestingly, a survey carried out last year by the CIF in Ireland reported over 84% of women in the industry would recommend it as a career avenue for younger women. Additionally, 73% of those surveyed felt the overall working environment is welcoming to female workers.
Conscious measures are being taken to ensure that workplaces adopt a more gender balanced approach with provisions put in place to cater for a variety of worker needs. Such initiatives appear to be working as figures show that in December 2019, the number of men fell by 1.8%, while the number of women grew by 4.9%.
A roadmap to change the culture in the construction sector has also been noted. This change is not only visible on a national level but is seen as an ongoing global development within the sector.
With the mindset changing, training is an essential part of being compliant in construction. Depending on the job role, all construction workers should be aware of their required training and adhere to the health and safety policy put in place by the company they work for.
FRS Training have a range of construction courses to suit the needs of new and existing workers. Popular courses include Safe Pass, Working At Height, Forklifts, Abrasive Wheels, 180 Degree Excavator and Scaffolding with many more available.
To book a course simply log onto www.frstraining.com and search our construction sector, or call 1890 20 1000 for more information.
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