It’s not just office jobs that have been shaken up by COVID. The pandemic may be responsible for big changes to blue collar work too.
It’s not just office jobs that have been shaken up by COVID. The pandemic may be responsible for big changes to blue collar work too.

Why more women are trading up

More women are joining the construction industry, with new figures showing 16.5 per cent growth for the sector.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that in the twelve months to November the number of women employed in the construction sector grew from 8933 to 10,409 - an increase of 1476.

The growth means that 13.8 per cent of workers in the industry are now female - the third highest proportion in the nation.

Klemm Homes owner Carmel Siciliano said some of the growth could be attributed to changes in the industry prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

"COVID has been problematic on site, but anything it has highlighted we can be more flexible with working hours," Mrs Siciliano said.

"For me this morning I was able to start work at the crack of dawn, drop the kids off at school, and then continue to work at night.

"Construction is more of an old-school industry, but COVID has allowed us to embrace this new way of working."

Carpenter Sarah Collier working on a Norwood town house. Picture: Mark Brake
Carpenter Sarah Collier working on a Norwood town house. Picture: Mark Brake

Mrs Siciliano, who is a member of the Master Builders SA HiViZ Women Building SA Committee that specialises in mentoring, networking and promoting women in the industry, said women should not be closed minded to the construction industry.

"There is so much opportunity for females in the industry," she said.

ABS statistics show women lost jobs at a far higher rate than men at the peak of the pandemic, making the growth in women employed in the construction industry particularly welcome.

Stimulus measures including the Federal Government's HomeBuilder program have been a welcome fillip for the industry that feared COVID would deliver a devastating hammer blow. Instead, SA is expecting a housing boom this year with HomeBuilder delivering several thousand applicants and the industry tipping 9.4 per cent growth in detached homes.

The state had recorded 7642 applications for the $25,000 HomeBuilder grant to the end of December, almost four times higher than government estimates.

The grant amount has fallen to $15,000 for building contracts signed from January 1 to March 31. Several local building companies have added jobs over the past six months, including the state's largest home builder Hickinbotham Group, which has employed 85 new staff alone.

Carpenter Sarah Collier, 23, said a job in the construction industry was enjoyable and rewarding.

"Buildings are going up every day and we will always need people to build buildings," she said.

"There is plenty to do.

"I knew that I didn't want to be sitting all day at a desk in an office job."

 

 

 

Originally published as Why more women are trading up



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