The Property and Construction industry is vital to the nation’s economic prosperity. Yet it is increasingly under the spotlight as a sector facing a looming skills gap, exacerbated by a post-Brexit landcape. New RICS figures reveal that the UK construction industry could lose almost 200,000 EU workers should Britain lose access to the single market.

But there are other factors contributing to its vulnerability. Far too few apprentices and graduates are entering the sector, a situation worsened by the fact that almost 400,000 current employees are expected to retire over the next decade. And there is still a serious gender imbalance in the industry. The 2016 Randstad Report showed that women are gaining ground and are expected to make up a quarter of the UK’s construction workforce by 2020. But to achieve that figure, companies need to do more to encourage women to make it their career choice. One of the main challenges is that there is still both a real and perceived imbalance in what women are being paid compared to men. Forty one percent of women still believe men are paid more. And the perception isn’t unfounded. The Office of National Statistics states that women are paid less than men in four measurable categories ranging from operatives through to management, with a pay gap in building and trades supervisors of a staggering 45.4%, one of the highest in employment.

As well as addressing the pay gap, long term skills shortages means the industry has to look at other ways it both attracts people and keeps them – flexible working, mentors and role models, career progression and training opportunities are going to be vital to maintain the modern property and construction workforce.

We want to look at how this industry is faring in the South West in terms of employment and retention and what it needs to do to successfully navigate the future. We want to hear from both women and men about their experiences, good and bad, and where they feel the industry needs to do more, from recruitment through to retirement.

This survey will take just a few minutes of your time to complete and the results will be published in the Autumn. It can be filled in anonymously, but we are looking for stories from both employers and employees that we can highlight as positive steps to facing the domestic skills shortage in the region.

This project is a collaboration between Women in Property South West, GapSquare and Rosemont Partnership.
There is a prize of a bottle of champagne for one random contributor drawn after the closing date of 14 July.

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