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The Gender Gap

Equal pay. Equal opportunities. Equal rights. In this day and age, both genders being treated fairly is a topic of hot discussion amongst all ages. There is nothing, or there should be nothing, that one gender can do and the other cannot. So why is it, then, in this boundary-defying world, that a gender may stray from a particular job role? Remembering the theme of many daily news debates, it can’t be that one gender simply cannot DO the job. When looking at old photographs, it doesn’t take long to see that women have been doing manual jobs for decades. Considering this, it seems confusing that the statics seem to show a heavy slant towards men working in the Construction Industry.

The UK’s Construction and Heavy Machinery profession is set to create over 168,000 careers between the years of 2019 and 2023. However, industry experts have said that only around 14% of workers in the Heavy Machinery industry are female, according to a November (2017) report from the Bureau of Labour Statistics. Within that 14%, most women work in admin-based roles. However, people in the world of Construction and Heavy Machinery are working on weakening the idea that roles in the industry are ‘male jobs’.


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Prevalent Female Workers

The field being male dominated does not mean that there is no place for females in the industry. The heavy machinery industry has seen an increase in female workers over the last few years. A female trainee buyer reported that the industry is not male-dominated, and that there are many roles within the construction world that do not mean being on site. From legal positions to health and safety, there are various jobs for interested candidates to choose from. Female workers in this field have paved the way for a revolution, taking many roles that have been given to men for so long. Isolde Liebherr is a Swedish Vice President of Liebherr International AG, a construction conglomerate with sales of up to $10 billion. Liebherr is not the only female leading the way to an equal forefront of the industry. Denise C. Johnson is group president for Caterpillar Inc, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of construction equipment. With strong and successful women breaking through the Heavy Machinery Industry, there is a growing trend in female empowerment in this line of work.

Colleges Call for Equal Opportunities

Heavy Equipment Colleges of America (HEC) are calling out to interested females to partake in their courses, showing the need for more female involvement in the industry. Reaching out to women to join this line of work may come as a surprise to some, and as logical to others. Steve Brown, the training director for the International Union of Operating Engineers has been quoted as saying “If there are classes in GPS or any other technology related to the job, they’ll be there if it can help them upgrade their abilities. The guys pick it up as they can, but women try to stay ahead of the curve.”

An Exciting Future

With schemes such as the Women Heavy Equipment Operator Awards and INWED in place, as well as bodies such as the Women’s Engineering Society, women are gradually receiving more recognition in the business of heavy machinery and construction.  Gradually, the need for female workers in the field is becoming increasingly prevalent and gaining the support of notable industry experts. If the future of the industry reflects this growing rate of females joining the trade, the field could be gender equal in the near future.

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