The NHBC Foundation is today (9 March) calling for an industry-wide campaign to boost the numbers of young women in house building, as its research reveals that just one woman in 10 is interested in a career in building and construction.
While a third of boys and young men (37%) are interested in building and construction, it found that only one girl or young woman in 10 (11%) is interested - the lowest level of interest of any other job sector included in the study.
It concluded that the UK house-building industry needed to challenge misconceptions if it was to attract and recruit young people, as the poor image of house building created a barrier to recruitment - more than a quarter of young people citing it as a concern.
Other issues related to a lack of information about careers and a perceived absence of professional opportunities.
When young people were given positive, factual information about the wider benefits of house building, however, many felt much more interested in considering it as a career.
This was backed by a survey of young people who had already been recruited into the industry that found that 94% were positive about the information they received about the job before they started.
NHBC chief executive Mike Quinton said: “House building provides exciting, varied and rewarding careers. We want to see more young people – including girls – actively considering a career in our industry to ensure we have a strong and balanced workforce to build the homes our country so desperately needs.
“People often connect house building with hard physical work performed in all weathers. In reality, there’s a wide range of careers in house building that offer great career prospects, but many people are simply not aware of the interesting roles that exist.”
The organisation has pledged its support for employment minister Esther McVey’s #notjustforboys campaign encouraging more women to consider careers in male-dominated industries.
It is now planning to host a summit of leading industry representatives to discuss next steps to recruiting more young women.