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The gender and age profile of the house-building sector



This report, based on the quarterly Labour Force Survey and interviews with house builders and senior commentators, provides current insights into age and gender diversity within the house-building sector. It identifies challenges to improving diversity, highlights initiatives underway and gives recommendations for reducing the over-reliance on an ageing male workforce.

Summary of content


Sets out why diversity and the need to expand the talent pool is business critical to the construction industry. Summarises the skills shortages that are impacting on house builders today.

Aims and methodology

Explains the research approach: use of the government’s Labour Force Survey (LFS) coupled with detailed interviews with senior human resources staff from house-building companies and senior female industry commentators.


The report has 7 core sections:

1) Age distribution of the workforce
Compares the overall age distribution of men and women in the sector and shows how both are distributed across four LFS occupation categories:

  • Managers and directors
  • Professional and technical occupations
  • Skilled trade occupations
  • Operatives and elementary occupations.

2) Gender distribution of the workforce
Considers the gender distribution for the categories above and also for two other categories:

  • Sales and other service occupations
  • Administrative and secretarial occupations

For all occupation categories the report compares diversity in the house-building sector with the wider construction industry.

3) Most common occupations
Identifies the most common occupations held by man and women in house-building.

4) Challenges facing the sector
Covers a range of specific factors that commentators believe to be barriers to recruitment of young people and women, including poor perception of workplace, lack of positive promotion of certain jobs to women, narrow recruitment strategies, gender biased advertising, ‘failure’ of careers advice and lack of encouragement to improve diversity, from government or local authorities.

5) Broader challenges
Discusses the impact of skills shortages, outsourcing of staff and spiralling salaries.

6) Strategies currently being implemented
Considers measures currently being used to improve diversity: succession planning, talent scouting, educational outreach, and investment in apprentices, training and graduate schemes.

7) Initiatives and campaigns tackling diversity
Summarises (and provides links to) a range of current initiatives.

The report also includes recommendations for the future at three levels:

  • Top level/government
  • Companies
  • Human resources.