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Identifying Barriers to Retaining Female Professionals in Engineering and Construction Organisations

8 pagesPublished: October 23, 2017


The construction and engineering industry remains to be one of the most male dominated industries in the world, with between 10 and 25 percent of its employees being female. It is believed that only 62% of women who pursued engineering stayed within the industry. Research suggests that the biggest hurdle the industry needs to overcome is changing the culture within the industry. For engineering and construction organisations gender diversity adds to the opportunity to engage a more diverse range of skills and ideas, with gender diverse organisations being 15% more likely to outperform their respective industry median. It also enables organisations to match the projected more gender diverse client teams and reflect the stakeholders in the communities they serve. The aim of the study is to provide a better understanding of how do we attract and retain female professionals within the construction industry and ensure gender diversity within senior leadership teams. An exploratory qualitative study was conducted with 3 females and 1 male working within the construction and engineering industry. The results suggest that the majority of interviewees joined the construction industry due to the encouragement of a family member and all agreed that having a gender diverse team was important as it creates for more diverse communication with the clients and stakeholders. However the difficult workplace culture and stereo typing still exists particularly around the need to have to work long hours which creates difficulties when trying to balance family and career.

Keyphrases: Construction Industry, Employee Retention, Engineering Industry, Gender diversity

In: Marsha Lamb (editor). AUBEA 2017: Australasian Universities Building Education Association Conference 2017, vol 1, pages 227--234

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