Read background details on the survey’s key findings, plus graphs and data

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In November and December 2017 Hays surveyed 936 individuals – 628 women and 293 men, (15 preferred not to disclose their gender) – working in the construction industry in the UK. They were asked a series of questions under five headings: your career, your job, equal opportunities, family and career development. The survey was also available through More than half of overall respondents noted they were in the “Generation X” age group (born 1961-82), with 33.5% Generation Y (born 1983-95); 31% said they worked in Greater London, with the rest spread fairly evenly across the rest of the UK apart from 3.5% who worked outside the UK 

A majority of respondents (71%) worked in the private sector, with 29% saying they operate in the public sector. 19% said they worked in architecture, 18% in commercial construction, including quantity surveying, planning, estimating and buying, and 18% noted that they worked in on-site construction.

Key findings 


  • 65% of men versus 57% of women said construction was their first choice of career
  • 27% of women were discouraged from entering construction, compared with 12% of men

Job satisfaction/career development

  • More women than men feel secure in their job, at 79% compared with 73% 
  • More men than women believe they have the opportunity within their role to sufficiently promote themselves and communicate their ambitions, at 37% compared with 26% of women 
  • Slightly more women than men are confident that their line manager is supportive of their career ambitions, at 31% compared with 29%
  • More women than men have a personal development or career plan, at 62% versus 52%
  • Over a third of women (34%) said they had been promoted within the past year, compared with 21% of men. 
  • More than a third of men (34%) said their last promotion was more than five years ago, compared with less than a quarter of women (24%)

Equal opportunities

  • Over a third (34%) of women think pay is unequal, compared with 13% of men
  • Over half of women (56%) said they had experienced harassment or victimisation during their career, and 36% of men. For 64% of these women, it happened within the past five years


  • Only 15% of all respondents said having children does not affect a woman’s career in construction; 46% of women think it does so very much, compared with 32% of men 
  • 44% said men in their organisation take their full parental leave entitlement, while 34% said male parents take very little of their leave allowance, and 8% said none take the allowance
  • 43% said an adverse financial impact was the reason men don’t take their full parental leave, while 29% said men who take parental leave may be viewed as less committed to their career 


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