Women in Construction: Breaking the Glass Ceiling


When we think of construction, we hardly imagine women. Considering the entire workforce in the field of construction, women comprise a small percentage. What comes as a surprise is the percentage of frontline female workers in the construction site – for every 100 employees in the field, there is only one woman. 

People still raise their eyebrows with the perception of women working in construction. Be it the gender gap or lack of adequate training facilities, several barriers hinder women from stepping into the construction world. Despite these barriers, some women are breaking the glass ceiling and making their ground. According to Randstad, nearly 33 percent of organizations promoted a woman to a senior position in 2017. By 2021, the construction sector is expected to create almost 2 million new jobs, aiming to recruit more women to put their skill sets into work. 

KSA is already driving the change by understanding the benefits of involving women in the construction workforce. So, what is the bigger picture of engaging women actively in construction? Let’s deep dive into the key points:

Leadership Opportunities

47 percent of women in construction have never worked with a female manager. 

Lack of female role models increases women’s opportunities to improve team performance, bring fresh perspectives to the table, and advance their careers. 

Increased Income 

Women in construction can reap the benefits of earning 30 percent more than traditional female-dominated careers. 

Feeling of Achievement

To be able to build something from scratch is soul-satisfying. Working in construction gives this feeling of achievement and teaches the passion for building – which is otherwise stereotypical to men. 

Developing Practical Skills

Working in the construction sector helps in nurturing skills like team building, technological expertise, and managing complex projects that can be implemented in other sectors. 

Female Leaders are Making an Impact 

Back in 2010, the count of women as construction executive officers was 7 percent. But this number has seen an exponential growth of 15% in the past few years – the highest across any industry. The female leaders in this field are making a noteworthy transformation. Here a few of the changes that need mention:

Coaching Other Women

Female leaders serve as mentors and coaches and inspire them to excel in their careers. The new generation would see that construction isn’t only confined to men. 

Changing Company Standards

Female mentors are trying to eliminate the challenges that the majority of the women face in construction. They create a defined strategy for female recruitment, promote women’s advancement, and push for better benefits. 

It is important to encourage more women in this sector, and the construction industry in Saudi Arabia is witnessing a change.

The construction industry leaders are already thinking through the factors that can encourage more women to join the industry. Here’s a quick statistic highlighting the most common factors that would impact a change: 

  Equal Pay – 18% 

  Flexible Hours – 15%

  Culture Change – 15%

  Better Child Care – 12%

  Mentoring – 10%

  Career Advice – 8% 

Source: Women in Construction Report

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