New research from volume housebuilder, Redrow, has revealed that the ‘boys only club’ perception is dwindling as 66% of young women participants already work in, have considered working in or are open to working in construction, up 17% from 2023.

The survey of 1,000 young adults found that it’s not just the potential high salary young women find appealing (39%), but also the opportunity to have a long-term career (26%) and the ability to set up their own business later down the line (25%). The increase in women entering the sector could be attributed to a rise in female role models. In fact, over two-fifths (42%) of women surveyed want to work for a company that has female or LGBTQ leaders.

Redrow’s research also found that, as the cost of living crisis continues, two in five (41%) 16–24-year-olds associate an apprenticeship with earning money while studying and not incurring student debt, highlighting the financial benefit of this alternative educational route.

Despite the growing popularity of the apprenticeship route, the research demonstrates that there remains a discrepancy in the advice given by both schools and parents to young people when it comes to choosing their next education move.

Three in five (60%) of those surveyed admit going to university is or was more encouraged at their school, with 48% feeling there is a stigma associated with being an apprentice rather than pursuing higher education. Over 42% of those surveyed also say that their parents don’t know much about apprenticeships and disagree that there is equal focus on apprenticeships and other routes vs university (35%).

In 2020, over two-fifths (44%) of young people believed a career in construction was dominated by men. In 2024, this is now 39%, with just under a third (32%) of those surveyed saying they’ve considered a career in construction.

Karen Jones, HR director for Redrow, said: “With such positive opportunities from this career choice, it’s no wonder that in this societal climate, women are bravely challenging the norm and exploring new industries altogether. The construction industry is such an exciting one to be in and there needs to be more women coming into the industry.

To achieve this, there needs to be more education to promote the fact that construction doesn’t just mean being a bricklayer or out on site, there are so many opportunities for women to succeed, do well and make a difference to communities. As part of this, we are constantly looking for ways to make our workplace more inclusive, whether that’s on-site or office-based roles.”

Darryl Stewart, responsible for the National House Building Council’s apprentice training programmes and hubs, said: “In recent years, housebuilders have found it more challenging to recruit people for a range of reasons. Historically, it’s an industry which has been perceived as being more male-dominated and currently it’s also facing an ageing workforce. This means we must find ways to encourage people from all walks of life to join the sector.”

“It is an industry which offers a fantastic range of careers and an apprenticeship in the house building industry is a pathway into a rewarding and well-paid career that can make a real difference.”

“This National Apprenticeship Week we are encouraging more young people to consider a career in construction with over 40 nationwide trade positions being released this year.”