Women in construction

The recently released Building Commission NSW Women in Construction Report, commissioned by the NSW Building Commission, makes several key recommendations to boost the number of women in construction.

The report looks into potential recommendations to increase female participation and address some of the systemic challenges women would face in the construction industry.


The recommendations outlined in the report provide a roadmap to help address key barriers to attracting and retaining women, addressing negative perceptions, raising business and HR knowledge and improving workplace culture in the construction industry.

With more than 100,000 skilled construction workers needed to meet the demand for housing supply in NSW, the report confronts longstanding issues that need to be addressed to meet productivity aims.

Small to medium construction businesses account for 80% of the industry and employ less than 5% of women. Out of all respondents, 35% of these businesses employ no women at all.

The report reveals that 71% of women employed in these businesses have experienced discrimination, with one in two women experiencing sexual harassment.

The report also found some small business employers are reluctant to hire women due to fears of being held legally responsible for any inappropriate behaviour by male employees in the workplace.

Only 42% of male employers also perceive the physical demands of the work as too high for women compared to 13% of female employers.

“The report provides informed recommendations to increase women’s participation in the industry and address some of the systemic challenges they face. Improving the workplace for all genders will encourage more women to join the industry and help to address the projected shortfall of 100,000 skilled construction workers,” NSW building commissioner David Chandler says.

“I am calling on all industry stakeholders to consider the findings and actionable recommendations. The participation and retention of women across NSW in the construction industry will deliver the benefits of a more diverse and inclusive industry which increases innovation, improves productivity and leads to stronger economic performance.”

More than 1,700 people across NSW participated in the research representing a broad cross-section of the community including men, women, students and the general public.

Image courtesy of Leonard J Matthews 

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