The trades in Australia have traditionally been very male dominated with less than 2% women being employed. A very large majority of trades are also skill shortage areas. The traditional culture within industry can be inappropriate for all people who work in it. Suicide rates and depression are high; particularly in construction. This needs to change for everyone. Major companies, particularly outside of construction are recognising the benefits of balancing their workforce via diversity.
SALT recommends that workplaces should reflect Australian society, this allows for innovative ways of working and leads to a progressive and productive workplace. Diversity is the fastest way to change culture and women are the largest group which are impacting and changing inappropriate cultures. The companies which have started to diversify have come from the same stand point as construction; with traditionally gendered trade workforces. There are now examples of companies balancing their apprenticeship intakes in a two-year time frame due to their diversity commitment.
SALT finds that currently women do not consider trade jobs and apprenticeships as work that is available to them. One of the biggest problems for companies who are trying to diversify is to attract applications from women. Companies approach SALT almost daily and they report that women do not apply for the job opportunities available. This where SALT works extensively to generate change. Our workshops are empowering for anyone and also include women from diverse backgrounds such as domestic violence, multicultural and indigenous communities. Whilst our focus is women and girls, we teach all people and recognise that the way forward is working together. The workshops create a quantum shift in perceptions within individuals and an immediate interest in career opportunities.
Equal Construction is part of SALT’s commitment to supporting companies to diversify by providing a website platform with a job board for Corporate Partners, which will share to SALT’s social media platforms.