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Harnessing the potential of a gender balanced industry

09 October 2017

 Balfour Beatty publishes its latest paper “Inspiring Change: Attracting women into construction”

Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, has today published its paper “Inspiring Change: Attracting women into construction”, drawing attention to the startling gender diversity gap within the construction industry and the negative impact this will have in delivering the future pipeline of mega infrastructure projects.

Construction is evolving, with infrastructure rapidly rising up the political and economic agenda. The pipeline of mega infrastructure projects is projected to create upwards of 25,000 jobs providing the opportunity for exciting and challenging roles and offering job security for decades to come.

While the skills shortage, an ageing workforce and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit are known industry problems to delivering such a pipeline, a large proportion of the UK’s workforce remains largely untapped in helping to bridge and tackle these issues – women make up for just under half of the country’s workforce and yet, within the UK construction sector they account for just 13% of the total workforce, of which only 1% work on-site. Furthermore, with the industry requiring another million workers by 2050*, women are still expected to make up only a quarter of the industry’s workforce by 2020**.

Balfour Beatty believes there is no reason why the construction and infrastructure industry should be any different from other sectors in terms of equality and diversity, despite it being a complex problem requiring action on a number of different fronts.

In its paper “Inspiring Change: Attracting women into construction”, it sets out how a diverse, gender-balanced industry can help address the skills shortage, build the infrastructure the UK needs and see the next generation fulfil their potential while utilizing the innovative and exciting technological developments currently in use across the industry.

Stephen Tarr, Managing Director Balfour Beatty’s Major Projects business, said, “In an age when equality is one of the cornerstones of a fair society, it is shocking to see the under-representation of women in construction.

“At a time when the demand for economic infrastructure is rising, there is a pressing need to tap into all available expertise and skills if we're to deliver the pipeline of exciting projects in the sector.

“The industry needs to come together with Government and other commissioning authorities to tackle this issue head on. We have to find smarter ways of attracting, recruiting and retaining the next generation of female engineers, surveyors, construction workers and project managers. If we don't, we risk being in the same situation in ten years’ time”. 

To read the paper in full, click here.



Media enquiries to:

Antonia Walton

Balfour Beatty

+44 (0)207 963 2150 | follow us @balfourbeatty

All non-media related enquiries should be directed to +44 (0)20 7216 6800 or


*Randstad Construction, Property and Engineering, November 2015

**Women in Construction Report, Randstand, 2015 CITB

Notes to editors:

  • Balfour Beatty ( is a leading international infrastructure group. With 30,000 employees, we provide innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. We finance, develop, build and maintain complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings.
  • Our main geographies are the UK, US and Far East. Over the last 100 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world including the London Olympics’ Aquatic Centre, Hong Kong’s first Zero Carbon building, the National Museum of the Marine Corps in the US and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
  • Balfour Beatty is committed to creating an environment where all our employees can be themselves at work and perform at their best. As a global company, it is critical to our success that our employees are as diverse as the customers and communities we serve.  In order to achieve this Balfour Beatty has taken the following action:
    • Establishing diversity as a key part of the company’s Build to Last transformation. The diversity and inclusion three-year plan sets out strategic aims, objectives and, more importantly, metrics in support of our endeavours. Overseen by Balfour Beatty Chief Executive Leo Quinn its progress against these metrics is regularly tracked.
    • Creating a range of national networks across the company to support BAME, Women and LGBTQ staff in creating a workplace that is more inclusive.
    • With the support of its customers, Balfour Beatty is recruiting from a large and more diverse pool of talent. For instance, in collaboration with Network Grid, our Power, Transmission and Distribution division provide opportunities for ex-offenders to get back into employment. Our Rail division support the British Forces Resettlement Services and its careers events, through advising service personnel on careers within the construction industry.
    • Working with expert diversity and inclusion focused bodies and networks such as Stonewall, The LGBT Construction Working Group and the Youth Women’s Trust to get guidance on how we can better improve our recruitment and workplace culture so that we can recruit and retain a talented and diverse workforce.
    • Actively promoting and encouraging our women to enter awards such as the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards to overcome the perceived barriers to career progression.