According to Statistics New Zealand, less than 12 per cent of the construction industry is female. This includes engineering, building, architecture, project management and construction law. Female students at the University of Canterbury engineering school still only make up 20% of the enrolments.
The construction industry is facing a significant skills and labour shortage as it enters an unprecedented period of growth. This raises the question of what the construction industry can do to attract and retain more women. For women, this shortage means now is a better time than ever to get involved in the industry. With the industry changing and developing to overcome new challenges, significant investment and innovation in building technology and intellectual property, the stereotype of construction workers being male has well and truly passed. The construction industry needs a diverse range of workers to come up with practical solutions to new problems as they arise.
The National Association for Women in Construction (NZ) takes an active role in supporting this goal with events targeted at promoting more women in the industry. For example, it has recently hosted an exhibition in Wellington showing photos of women active in the industry and it is those type of events which are key to showing young woman looking towards the industry the possibilities for their future careers.