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Barriers to women in the UK construction industry

Worrall, LJ, Harris, K, Stewart, R, Thomas, A and McDermott, P 2010, 'Barriers to women in the UK construction industry' , Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 17 (3) , pp. 268-281.

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    Abstract

    Purpose – This paper aims to identify the main barriers that lead to the under-representation of women in the UK construction industry. The study, funded by ConstructionSkills, seeks to explore the issues that women face and investigate the potential positive impact that continuous professional development (CPD) may have upon improving the retention and career progression of women. Design/methodology/approach – The study uses an open-ended grounded theory (GT) approach, including 231 semi-structured questionnaires and nine focus groups with women from a range of professional occupations. All the findings were analysed using keyword analysis to identify the top two barriers that women face, alongside a series of cross-cutting key themes and issues. Findings – The findings reveal that male-dominated organisational cultures and inflexible working practices are the main barriers to women in the UK construction industry, irrespective of job role or profession. This paper concludes by arguing for a sea-change in the expansion of CPD opportunities for women in managerial, confidence and communication based skills, with accompanying networking and support systems to facilitate the retention and advancement of women in the industry sector. Research limitations/implications – Due to the research approach, the data are not generalisable. Therefore, researchers are advised to research and test the findings with a larger group. Researchers are also recommended to investigate the impact of expanded CPD opportunities for both men and women. Originality/value – The paper puts forward a business case for the advancement of specific CPD training for women, to facilitate the expansion of equality and diversity in the workforce in the UK construction industry.

    Item Type: Article
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Construction industry, Human resource management, Organizational culture, Gender
    Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
    Subjects / Themes > T Technology > TH Building construction
    Subjects / Themes > L Education > LF Individual institutions (Europe)
    Built and Human Environment
    Subjects outside of the University Themes
    Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment > Management in Construction Research Centre (MIC)
    Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment
    Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Arts & Media > Centre for Media, Art & Design Research and Engagement (MADRE)
    Colleges and Schools > College of Arts & Social Sciences > School of Arts & Media
    Journal or Publication Title: Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management
    Publisher: Emerald
    Refereed: Yes
    ISSN: 0969-9988
    Related URLs:
    Funders: ConstructionSkills
    Depositing User: L Worrall
    Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2010 14:58
    Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 17:16
    URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/8834

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