MORE than three million people are employed in the construction industry throughout the UK, with only 15% of them women, but a new Scottish initiative is aiming to increase that number.

The Inclusive Value project, funded by the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC), involves building company Sir Robert McAlpine, City of Glasgow College and Equate Scotland, will offer a free assessment tool to support construction firms in identifying how they can become more inclusive workplaces.

This has gone live at and is supported by a range of materials including a best practice guide, case studies and industry benchmarking data.

Construction contributes £138 billion to the UK economy every year and is recognised as a diverse sector delivering homes, services and vital infrastructure, which impacts on everyone’s life.

However, its work diversity is not reflected in the workforce and the industry, responding to an increasingly fast-paced agenda and growing skills gaps, knows it will need a workforce that is more representative of wider society.

Paul Hamer, chief executive of Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “Currently, only 11% of the construction workforce are women, and, within this, women make up only 1% of modern apprentices and site workers.

“This is something that needs to be addressed. With a growing skills shortage, organisations within the construction industry need to act now to encourage more women to view this as a great career choice. ”

CSIC’s business relationship manager, Jennifer Smart, said: “In an industry where there is demand for new housing and infrastructure provision to meet government targets, it is essential that companies develop the right culture to attract and retain women to address the gender gap.

“This CSIC funded project with Sir Robert McAlpine, City of Glasgow College and Equate Scotland have created a toolkit to support this journey to a more diverse and inclusive workforce.”

Douglas Morrison, associate director of innovation and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) at City of Glasgow College said: “The construction industry has been tackling sector attractiveness issues for some time.

“The progressive approach that Sir Robert McAlpine are taking to catalyse meaningful change in the gender diversity of the industry is truly inspiring.

“This project will support a wide range of construction businesses to make meaningful and impactful change that will support both current and future employees to realise the benefits of a career in construction.”

Equate Scotland director, Talat Yaqoob, added: “Construction is a crucial sector to Scotland’s economic growth, as such, it is important that women have access to employment and equal opportunities at all levels. With a widening skills gap and ageing workforce it is both an economic and social priority for the industry to address the gender imbalance.

“We know that a diverse workforce is good for business but it is not always clear on how to achieve this. This tool will enable employers to take practical steps towards creating workplace cultures that foster diversity, inclusion and innovation.”