According to a new survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) nearly half of construction workers predict the pay gap between male and female employees will be less than 15% by April 2018.
With the national average pay gap recorded at 18.1% in 2016, today’s findings suggest the construction sector could lead the way in closing the gap, if the employees’ predictions are correct. Indeed, more than one in ten respondents (12%) think that there will be no gender pay gap at all by April 2018, which marks the end of the UK Government’s mandatory gender pay reporting period. However, this positive sentiment is markedly absent in the nation’s capital, with Londoners in the construction sector predicting an average pay gap of 21%.
Sean Tompkins, RICS Chief Executive Officer says that although it’s great to see the sector expects the gender pay gap to be lower than the national average, today’s findings highlight that achieving gender equality in the construction sector requires significant commitment from organisations.
Encouragingly, there is a collective agreement from over a third of both men and women across the industry that companies are not doing enough to attract females into the sector. The findings reveal that it is primarily the responsibility of individual organisations, to invest in schemes and nuture more inclusive cultures that support women to hold more senior roles in the construction industry.
People often tackle diversity from the perspective that it is an issue to be addressed. RICS believes it should be approached from the other way round; diversity and an inclusive culture where you feel entirely comfortable being yourself in the workplace. This must be embedded as part of your business strategy and DNA because you simply cannot afford to not have a diverse workforce today and for the future. Increasingly, clients will expect it and to win the war for talent, you will need a diversity of visible role models.
In addition to tackling gender stereotyping and investing in training to upskill female colleagues, our findings confirm that flexible working is key, with over a third of women identifying more flexible hours as a means to encourage them to stay in the sector. RICS’s Inclusion and Diversity conference last month focused on the importance of building a diverse workforce and some of the steps that businesses can take. We also set up the RICS Inclusive Employer Quality Mark (IEQM) to set an example to organisations within our industry and have already seen 150 organisations sign up and learn from each other since its launch in June 2015.