Construction groups take action on female pay and progression in the sector

Council-backed construction services group City Building has launched a fresh initiative to get more women into senior leadership positions.

A working group called Gender Equality in the Workplace will focus on creating new pathways for women across the business, which employs about 2,000 people in and around Glasgow. City Building says it recruits 10 times the industry standard of female apprentices, though at senior level men make up the majority by a split of 60 per cent to 40%.

The move came as Scottish housebuilder Springfield Properties said it has all but closed its gender pay gap with the mean difference down to 0.5% compared to 6.8% in 2019. That figure is based on a snapshot of pay as of April 2021 and compares to the UK average of 15.4%.

READ MORE: City Building looks to repair Covid damage with £20m of new contract wins

The gender pay gap across all sectors is largely attributed to fewer women progressing into higher-paying senior positions. Those that do are still frequently paid less than their male counterparts.

The construction sector faces additional issues as it has traditionally struggled to attract a proportionate number of women at entry level.

The new working group at City Building is chaired by Lynsey Chambers, an apprentice training manager at the company.

“We have found that whilst recruiting women into the construction industry can be difficult, the real challenge and where the most impact can be made is withing promoting women into positions of leadership,” she said.

READ MORE: Springfield Properties in £56m acquisition of Tulloch Homes

“Progression is a much longer-term challenge when looking to address the gender pay gap and this group will be tasked with researching and recommending the changes needed to tackle any barriers in place for women within our industry.”

The group will examine current procedures and behaviours through a series of interviews with colleagues across the business. It will then make recommendations that will form the basis of an action plan for the executive management team to implement across the business.

Executive director Alan Burns said: “Whilst we are market leaders within the construction industry, in terms of female employees, we know there is still much to be done to fully realise the potential of a more gender diverse company.

“It is absolutely critical for us as a business that the focus was not simply on newly-recruited young women, but that we examine our practices at all levels of the business.”

The group includes City Building (Contracts) which is wholly owned by Glasgow City Council, and City Building (Glasgow) which is jointly owned by the council and property management group Wheatley.

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