The Property Council has backed the decision from the NSW State Government to commit $20.2 million to increase women in construction.
Property Council’s NSW Executive Director Luke Achterstraat said the Property Council had long advocated for an increase of females in the sector through programs such as ‘Girls in Property’ and today’s ‘Women in Property lunch, which will see over 1400 people fill the Sydney ICC.
“Even though the industry has made great progress in recent years, there still aren’t enough women working in property and construction, and women hold only 28% of leadership roles,” Mr Achterstraat said.
“Today’s announcement will ensure that more women choose a career in property, choose to stay and are given more opportunities to excel because there is a myriad of benefits both for them and the industry.”
Mr Achterstraat said the property industry was building better places, and good businesses benefit from diverse design and thought.
“When building design and construction has the input of a diverse range of people, we see better buildings, communities and towns and cities. This is important as our population and regions grow larger and more diverse,” Mr Achterstraat said.
“Diversity of thought also propels creativity and innovation within an organisation. Global management consulting firm Mckinsey found that top companies embracing gender diversity are 21 per cent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies that don’t.
“We hope this announcement empowers more women to consider the property industry as a career choice, to boost diversity, creativity and innovation for the future,” says NSW Executive Director Luke Achterastraat.
An ambition to triple the number of women working in the construction industry
Treasurer Matt Kean said the Government will lead the way with a goal of 15 per cent women in construction by 2030, with a view towards reaching a more gender-balanced industry into the future.
“The latest estimates show that skills shortages in the Australian construction industry could top 105,000 workers by 2023,” Mr Kean said.
“Increasing the number of women in the construction industry is essential to lower the gender pay gap and ensure we have the skilled workforce required to deliver the Government’s record $110.4 billion infrastructure pipeline.”
Minister for Infrastructure, Cities and Active Transport Rob Stokes said that women currently make up about 5% of the construction workforce and Infrastructure NSW would work closely with industry to reach the 2030 goal.
“Historic skills shortages coupled with the biggest infrastructure program our State has ever seen means there is no better time to support more women to pursue a career in the construction industry,” Mr Stokes said.
“This funding will go towards breaking down the cultural barriers that stop women from considering a career in construction and help them smash through the gyprock ceiling.”
Minister for Women’s Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Natalie Ward said the Government will work towards its 15 per cent goal by shifting the culture in construction and leading by example on its own worksites.
“We have to ensure women on construction sites have access to adequate, clean amenities, necessary personal protective equipment, that worksites are free of offensive materials and there are opportunities for more flexibility in working hours,” Mrs Ward said.
Infrastructure NSW will continue to engage with stakeholders, building on the work already done by industry associations and trade unions. Funding will be used to sponsor innovative industry-led initiatives, and increase existing participation targets, skills and training initiatives.
The initiative is part of the NSW Government’s commitment to growing the economy and building opportunity for all.
Last year, the state of Victoria announced a new policy that mandates increased representation for women in the construction industry. The Building Equality Policy (BEP) was an Australian first aimed at disrupting gender stereotypes in the country’s most male-dominated industry. The new requirements are introduced for works valued at $20 million or more over the life of the project. There will be a two-year transitional implementation period, and action on non-compliance will kick in from January 2024. Read more here.
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