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Women in STEM Q2 2024

Championing inclusion and advancement of women in engineering and construction

Jennifer Nisbet-Daly

Communications Executive, Construction Industry Federation

Explore initiatives that are advancing female representation in engineering and construction. From ensuring boardroom parity to promoting STEM careers, we can shape a diverse and innovative industry.

Current Central Statistics Office figures show that while the percentage of female representation in senior executive roles has increased since 2021 — from 9.5% to 13.4% — the construction sector had the lowest level of female representation in senior executive roles in 2023. This is a statistic that we, at Construction Industry Federation (CIF), seek to change.

Female representation at boardroom level and in technical roles

When the CIF commissioned the ‘Women in Construction’ report in 2018, the organisation had one female director. As of 2023, the Federation has successfully achieved gender parity at Director level — a significant milestone in our diversity and inclusion journey.

While we are seeing the beginnings of change at boardroom level, we are yet to see this translate to technical roles. Currently, female engineers represent just 12% of the industry while 25% of the broader spectrum of STEM careers are held by women.

Currently, female engineers
represent just 12% of the industry.

Empowering women in construction careers

Our Careers in Construction campaign aims to encourage young people into the industry through numerous threads: the ‘Schools Partnership’ programme, the ‘Constructing Your Future’ competition and the facilitation of Safepass training for third-year and senior cycle students, among many other initiatives.

To encourage more women and girls into the industry, our recent video series ‘We Built This City’ showcased female electrical and painting apprentices, alongside fully qualified female BIM and project engineers.

There is a vast pool of untapped talent out there. We hope that by showcasing women who have excelled in these fields, we can encourage more women and girls to take up the mantle and bring a fresh perspective to the industry.

Promoting diversity and innovation

At this year’s CIF International Women’s Day summit, Dr Katriona O’Sullivan, who leads the All-Ireland STEM Passport for Inclusion programme, delivered an inspiring keynote address, detailing her career journey while highlighting the significant impact women can have in these fields. Similarly, our lunchtime webinar series ‘In conversation with…’ highlights women in a wide variety of roles within the industry, from technical to C-suite.

We are committed to cultivating a more diverse and inclusive workforce where women and girls can realise their full potential. Diversifying the workforce will introduce new perspectives, fostering change and innovation. By embracing all backgrounds and experiences, we can enhance problem-solving, improve creativity and drive the industry forward.

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