Influx of female apprentices set to turn the tide on male dominated construction industry

6th February 2023
  • Half of women (49%) are now open to considering a career in construction compared to over two thirds (67%) of men
  • 57% of young adults (16-24) prioritise a company that focuses on their wellbeing over one offering a higher salary when looking at employment
  • Almost half (47%) view apprenticeships as opportunities to earn without accruing student debt


Our latest research reveals half (49%) of women have considered and are open to working in construction.


The survey of 1,000 young adults aged 16-24 found after decades of men dominating the construction industry, more women are looking to enter the sector. In fact, three fifths (60%) of women believe that a career in construction is often overlooked.


The increased female interest in a construction career follows a trend of young adults re-evaluating their finances and career choices because of the cost-of-living crisis.


What young people want from their jobs


The research found that two in five (45%) say the rise in the cost of living has made them want to earn more money in the future, with more than half (54%) of them thinking they will earn more than their parents during their lifetime.


Almost half (47%) of those aged 16 to 24 view apprenticeships as the best opportunities to earn without incurring student debt, 38% associate them with offering greater financial independence at an earlier age and 30% appreciate having more mentoring and coaching opportunities.


As apprenticeships continue to grow in popularity they must adapt to the demands of young adults, with more than half (57%) wanting to work for a company that focuses on better wellbeing for employees than one paying a higher salary.


Young people understand the benefits of an apprenticeship vs university as 58% of those surveyed believe that earning a salary whilst learning is the best reason for choosing to take an apprenticeship route. Similarly, nearly half (45%) think that gaining practical work experience is more important.


With so many industries offering apprenticeships, it is reassuring to see that more than a third (37%) of young people want to pursue one in construction with the hope of gaining new skills across different roles.


What the apprentices are saying


We surveyed 118 of our apprentices to reveal what encouraged them to take up a career in construction, with the long-term career opportunities being one of the top factors for choosing their careers.


Tashai Simms, who is completing a Construction Apprenticeship at Redrow, said, “I am constantly learning and developing new skills, which will be useful throughout my entire life and career. When choosing an apprenticeship I knew I wanted to take a different path to what women are typically ‘expected’ to take. What really drives me is breaking down barriers, helping women succeed in a male dominated industry and proving people wrong. As well as all of these things, a great benefit for me is the fact that we get paid for the work we do during the apprenticeship, alongside studying. All those factors combined, I knew that an apprenticeship was the correct path for me.”


Top five factors encouraging people into a career in construction, according to Redrow apprentices


Long term career opportunities



Salary of money you can earn



Opportunity to build or create something physical/tangible



Seeing the impact of my work in real life



Transferrable skills learnt




Barriers young adults face


Alongside barriers such as manual labour (39%), the male dominated environment (35%), the physicality needed (33%), a lack of information on apprenticeships and construction careers could be deterring people from the industry. The traditional route of higher university education is often prioritised by schools – with over a third (37%) of young adults saying they weren’t given enough information about apprenticeships to pursue them and two in five (41%) not told anything about apprenticeships.


Similarly, 58% were encouraged by their parents to attend university over other alternatives and 55% said their parents don’t know much about apprenticeships.


When parents were asked about their knowledge of apprenticeships, 39% said that they were unaware of the benefits of a construction apprenticeship, which is worrying, as 32% of young adults stated that their current education/employment status was influenced by family members.


There are still wider issues to be addressed too, with over two thirds (69%) of Redrow apprentices agreeing that there is a stigma associated with being an apprentice rather than pursuing further or higher education.


Karen Jones, HR Director for Redrow, comments: “Our latest research shows that more women are open to choosing a career in construction – and hopefully turning the tide on construction being such a male dominated industry. At Redrow, we are always looking for ways to make our workplace more inclusive, such as installing new site facilities on developments and updating PPE, however, more needs to be done to bridge the knowledge and perception gap of apprenticeships at a school level.


“We’re keen to get out and work more closely with education providers across the country to share information about the wide range of opportunities available in construction and encourage young people to consider taking up an apprenticeship. Especially in the midst of a cost of living crisis, the ability to earn whilst you learn, and gain valuable skills for life, will make apprenticeships stand out against other options.”


This National Apprenticeship Week we are encouraging more young people to consider a career in construction with over 70 nationwide trade positions being released this February. To find out more, please visit: