Record numbers of women joining the construction boom

The number of women entering the construction sector has hit a new record, with Queensland emerging as the state having the most enrolments of female construction apprentices.

The latest data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research shows the total number of female construction apprentices in the state number to 1048 women. This figure is more than double, from around 1.5 per cent in 2010 to over four per cent this year. This is also higher than the national average of just over three per cent.

Construction Skills Queensland CEO Brett Schimming said that the significant bump in female recruits to the industry was an encouraging milestone.

“The representation of women in the construction industry has been on the increase for the last decade, albeit at a very slow pace,” Schimming said. “Our last Women in Construction report showed that the numbers of women in construction roles now account for around 15 per cent of the industry, but that narrows to just five per cent when we focus on trade roles. Key to increasing women in trades is encouraging more female school students and young people to consider a trade apprenticeship.”

Despite the low percentage of representation, Schimming is still positive, pointing out that the latest figures bode well for a changing profile of the industry in the next five years.

“The more women and girls see other women succeeding in construction, the more this will become a real consideration for their future career choices,” he said.

Schimming said the increase in female apprentices echoes an overall increase in all construction apprentices in training.

“There has been an enthusiastic response to the Federal Government’s apprentice incentives that were released quite early on following the onset of the pandemic, and have since been extended,” Schimming added. “These incentives have made it cheaper than ever for employers to put on and keep apprentices. With building and construction activity also at record highs, it has been a perfectly timed stimulus that will benefit thousands of newcomers to the industry.”

Schimming also noted the feedback from employers about the experience they have had hiring female apprentices.

“We hear so many positive stories about the excellent work ethic and attention to detail from female apprentices; they tend to get snapped up by employers and quickly rise through the ranks,” he said. “Having more diversity in the industry, and on sites, is great for the workplace culture and bottom-line outcomes.”