WGEA Construction Industry Snapshot

Moves afoot to reduce underrepresentation of women and pay disparity in construction

Under representation of women in the construction industry and pay disparity remains a challenge for the industry on International Women’s Day (IWD). Contributing to the gap: underrepresentation of women in senior leadership roles, which typically attract higher fixed pay and performance-based awards/bonuses in the market. Women are also over-represented in part-time work and unpaid leave due to caring responsibilities. 

ASI is working with its industry partners to help improve diversity in the steel industry through its Careers in Steel and Diversity and Inclusiveness Group initiatives. Calls for a more inclusive, equitable and diverse construction industry come on the back of new Federal Government Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) data placing construction at the top of the gender pay disparity list.  

ASI board member Lendlease has reaffirmed its commitment to diversity and closing the gender pay gap in a statement responding to the WGEA figures. Lendlease said 45% of its regional leadership team are now women, 40% of its board of directors women and 44% of its recent graduate intake women. Its recruitment process no longer asks candidates what their current salary is, which can reinforce existing bias, and the pay gap is regularly monitored and targets set. In 2023, it enhanced its parental leave scheme to provide all parents 26 weeks paid leave. Superannuation is also paid on the first 12 months of parental leave. 

The WGEA report revealed the median base salary pay gap at Lendlease is 24.7%, 10% lower than the construction industry average. The gap for like-to-like jobs is less than 1%. “As a business, we’re committed at every level to closing the gender pay gap,” Lendlease said in its statement. The release of new WGEA data coincides with the official launch of BuildSkills, a new Federal Government Jobs and Skills Council initiative established to meet future workforce challenges including the underrepresentation of women.

Infrastructure and property company John Holland recently conducted a pay gap analysis and discovered 15% of their female employees were being paid less than their male colleagues across the business. The company immediately took action by implementing a one-off pay rise for the affected employees. John Holland has more than 3,600 employees, of which 25% are female, while 15% of its management roles are held by women. The company says ensuring pay equity is just the first step.