A Career In Construction And The Trades: Women Wanted
Rewarding careers for women in the construction industry are there for the taking.
According to a recent PwC report, the New Zealand construction industry is the fifth largest sector by employment, accounting for 10% of total employment across the economy.
New Zealand’s growing population requires more housing and therefore more tradies and construction workers. With high demand for housing nationwide, compounded by the current housing shortage in Auckland and the proposed plan to provide 422,000 extra dwellings in the city over the next 30 years, this is an industry that is going to experience
The opportunity for the construction industry is significant, but the sector will not be able to meet demand without change. Bringing people in from overseas will only add to infrastructure problems, as they too require housing, so it makes sense to look to how woman can fulfil these roles.
Ellie Porteous, General Manager of the G.J. Gardner Master Franchise in New Zealand, has been in her role for 14 years and has seen many women take charge and thrive in what’s normally considered a male dominated industry. “G.J. Gardner is completely dedicated to gender equality in the workplace. We employ 430 people nationwide and 180 of those are women, that’s 43% of our business and that’s well above the industry standard of 19%. And that’s something we’re pretty proud of. But we’re not done yet.”
According to the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) the construction industry is crying out for workers, yet less than three percent of current apprentices are female. BCITO Chief Executive, Warkwick Quinn says the trades offer a range of careers and more women are needed if New Zealand is to meet the industry’s demands. “More than 65,000 construction workers are needed over the next five years…The sector is crying out for workers and our traditional workforce pools are not meeting demand – boosting gender diversity is vital.”
Current apprentices have been enjoying opportunities for career progression, job security and the great lifestyle provided by their career choice. BCITO surveyed its female apprentices and found that 96% of them had strong job satisfaction.
Elaine Morley is New Zealand’s first G.J. Gardner Homes franchise owner and has been in the industry for more than 20 years. Elaine believes that while traditionally construction careers have been aimed at
men, employers are now realising women also bring a different set of abilities that helps to broaden a company’s overall set of skills.
It is important to note that construction is not just about being on the tools. There are a number of career paths available from estimating to project management, construction supervision and contracts management as well as health and safety and the possibility for career progression is fantastic in the industry.
Shalimar Sudfelt, owner of G.J. Gardner Kapiti/Porirua said the thought of more women joining the industry is exciting “We need more female role models and for society in general to see females working in construction and the trades.” With high demand in addition to exciting social and technological advances, now is a better time than ever to start a career in construction. G.J. Gardner already have plenty of successful women who have made a top career in the industry, and they’d love for you to join them.
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