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Research report – career pathways of women in construction

Understand how girls and women are attracted to and experience apprenticeships and training in construction-based trades in Victoria.


The Victorian Government has developed the state’s first Women in Construction Strategy: Building Gender Equality in conjunction with the Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC).

The focus of the Strategy is on women in trades and semi-skilled roles in the construction industry. The Government has invested $2 million to create a strategy to diversify the male-dominated construction industry. The Strategy is based on 3 key themes:

  • Attract – women need to be aware that construction is an attractive and viable career option.
  • Recruit – Women must be proactively recruited and have access to strong career pathways.
  • Retain – Workplaces must be inclusive and adaptive to ensure women want to stay.


As part of this strategy the Victorian Government has engaged RMIT to gathered data through targeted interviews and focus groups with:

  • schoolgirls
  • career educators
  • apprentices
  • trainees
  • trainers
  • employers.

Data was also collected on the structure and governance framework for apprenticeships.

The objective of this research was to understand how girls and women are attracted to and experience apprenticeships and training in construction-based trades in Victoria. The research aims are to:

  • identify the barriers and facilitating factors of women entering construction-based apprenticeships and traineeships
  • explore the experiences of women undertaking apprenticeships and traineeships in construction
  • identify ways to effectively promote construction trades as a viable career pathway to school aged girls and women
  • explore how apprenticeship and traineeship programs in Victoria are structured and governed to identify how apprentices and trainees are formally supported.


Findings outlined in the Career pathways of women in construction: Boots on the ground report enable a move from anecdotal evidence to a strong evidence-base which can be used to inform targeted interventions that support the attraction and retention of tradeswomen and semi-skilled women into construction.

The research identified common barriers to women in the sector, including:

  • gendered stereotypes
  • social perceptions
  • discriminatory recruitment
  • perceptions the industry is inflexible
  • unsupportive learning environments
  • lack of education and training pathways for women to transition into a formal trade.

Read the full finding in the report below.


The report also includes recommends on a system-wide approach to addressing the multiple and interconnected barriers women face when considering a career in the building and construction industry, including:

  • educating parents and schools on the structure of trades and the opportunities they offer to remove the stigma of trades by providing clear pathways
  • incorporating opportunities for students to develop their skills and knowledge about trades, irrespective of gender, in the primary and secondary curriculum
  • developing and delivering training on safe, respectful and inclusive classrooms and workplaces
  • developing a formal training program for tradeswomen who choose to become mentors
  • developing industry partnership with schools to employ women to challenge employers’ perception that women are not capable of working in the sector
  • engaging with career educators to provide information on clear pathways into trades
  • the research recommendations will be incorporated into the Governments Building Equality Strategy 2023-2031.

Read the full recommendations in the report below.

Download a copy of the report

Career Pathways of Women in Construction: Boots on the Ground
PDF 1.42 MB
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