Women in construction
Queensland has a $46 billion building and construction industry.
While the industry employs about 240,000 people across the state, nearly 5 percent of these are women. Electricians, joiners, concreters and form workers have some of the lowest participation rates of women in the industry.
Civil engineering draftspersons and technicians, fencers and plasterers have higher levels of participation. However, even among building and engineering technicians, which has the highest percentage of women workers, more than three quarters of the workforce are men.
The Queensland Government is leading the way to help boost women’s participation in the building and construction industry, particularly in frontline construction roles.
We actively encourage women to join the building and construction industry and build careers in a range of professional services, trades and administration roles.
Our own procurement management and contract management team, QBuild, is already well above the state average in employing women and is making great strides toward lifting this ratio even higher.
In 2019, the Queensland Government's $13 billion infrastructure spend supported 40,500 jobs across the state and of this, our social housing capital works program supported 1,400 jobs.
By boosting women’s participation in the industry we are contributing to the Advancing Queensland Priority of creating jobs in a strong economy.
Making a difference in Cannon Hill
Right now, we’re building 20 new social housing units in Cannon Hill, with a strong focus on a diverse workforce. This project, being managed through QBuild, is looking for the best ways to build women’s participation in construction and to support retention of female apprentices and tradies.
What we learn from this project will help build greater diversity on future QBuild, Queensland Government and private industry projects.
The project has already had an all-women fencing team complete the perimeter fencing and, QBuild’s own women apprentices are logging hours on site.
This includes a female electrical apprentice who is bucking industry trends.
While some trades are still not attracting women, in 2019-20 there were 38 women signed up to become apprentice carpenters, and another 15 apprentice plumbers. Of the painting and decorating apprentices from the same year, almost 10 per cent are women.
Try a Trade events
The project in Cannon Hill is also serving as an excellent promotional opportunity to showcase careers in construction to young women.
In partnership with Construction Skills Queensland and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), QBuild has hosted two successful Try a Trade events where 20 years 9 to 12 female school students from local schools can attend an active commercial construction site and learn what it takes to be a carpenter, plumber, painter, electrician, plasterer, tiler and bricklayer.
The NAWIC mentors including qualified female plumbers, carpenters and bricklayers give the students invaluable advice about their career experiences in the construction industry and discuss career pathways.
Katie, High school student: Seeing all the women here has changed my pathway more to the construction side of things because it just looks like such a good community.
Cienna, High school student: It is a big experience for women here because most of us don’t have the opportunity outside of school to do any of these type if things. I’ve always had a passion for carpentry. Today has really shown me that I can do it.
Katie, High school student: Electricians and tiling are what really interests me at the moment. I do see myself going into an apprenticeship after school.
Cienna, High school student: There’s so many women here that inspire a lot of us girls to be able to pursue those dreams we want to do and go out there into the real world. I do see myself being a construction worker. Coming here today has just shown me that it’s possible.
- Last updated:
- 18 March 2021