The NHBC Foundation is calling for a new industry-wide campaign to increase the number of girls and young women involved in house building, after new research shows that only one in ten are interested in building and construction careers.
According to new research from the NHBC Foundation, while one-third of boys and young men (37%) are interested in building and construction, only one-tenth of girls and young women (11%) are interested, the lowest level of interest of any other job sector included in the study.
The organisation has pledged its support for UK Employment Minister Esther McVey’s #notjustforboys campaign, which encourages more women to pursue careers in traditionally male-dominated industries. It is now planning to host a summit of top industry executives to discuss the next steps in recruiting more young women.
According to the findings of the study, the UK housing industry needs to challenge misconceptions in order to attract and recruit young people. When asked about house construction, young people could frequently identify jobs in the trades such as bricklaying and plumbing, but, aside from architecture, they were largely unable to identify professional careers.
It discovered that the negative image of house building continues to be a barrier to recruitment, with more than a quarter of young people citing it as a barrier. Other issues concern a lack of career information and a perceived scarcity of professional opportunities.
However, when young people were given positive, factual information about the broader benefits of home construction, many became much more interested in pursuing it as a career. This was supported by a survey of young people who had already been recruited into the industry, which revealed that 94% were satisfied with the information they received about the job before starting.
The NHBC Foundation report, ‘A Career of Choice: Attracting Talented Young People Into House Building,’ contains a number of important recommendations for the industry. These are some examples:
- The industry should prioritise the promotion of house building careers, explaining the variety of practical, technical, managerial, and business improvement opportunities.
- To address the concern that house building may not provide career structures and may be a dead-end choice, the industry should emphasise its flexible career paths whenever possible.
- The industry should encourage the creation of new positive narratives about the broader benefits of home construction.
- More effort is required to promote and champion professional careers in house construction.
According to the report, a campaign to raise awareness of technical and design career opportunities may resonate strongly with young women.
“House building provides exciting, varied, and rewarding careers,” said Mike Quinton, CEO of the NHBC. We want to see more young people, including girls, actively considering a career in our industry so that we can have a strong and diverse workforce to build the homes that our country so desperately needs.
“Our research shows that only one in every ten girls is interested in a career in building and construction.” However, our research shows that if we as an industry do more to promote and champion the benefits, as well as challenge the myths, there are many roles in house building that are appealing to both young men and women.
“Many people associate house construction with hard physical labour done in all weathers.” In reality, there is a wide range of careers in house building that offer excellent career opportunities, but many people are simply unaware of these opportunities.”