Stewart Milne Group closes gender pay gap ahead of construction industry

Stewart Milne Group is reporting an improvement in its gender pay gap, which is now significantly lower than the construction industry average.

The independent housebuilder and timber frame manufacturer has closed the gap by attracting and recruiting more women and providing them with clear, career progression opportunities.

All UK companies with over 250 employees are required to publish a gender pay gap report by April 4, 2019.

Stewart Milne Group has submitted its report which shows a 4.8% improvement, from 18.1% down to 13.1%, almost half of the 23.6% industry average.

Karen Catto, HR director at Stewart Milne Group, said: “The gender pay gap, defined as the difference in the average pay and bonuses of all men and women across an organisation, can often be misconstrued as paying women less than men. This is certainly not the case at Stewart Milne Group where we offer equal pay for equal work. At the root of the so-called pay gap in our industry and many others, is the under-representation of women.

“Our gender pay gap has closed because of the strides we have made towards encouraging more women into the organisation, through several different routes and initiatives, and then making sure we provide them with clear progression routes into senior positions.”

The gender pay gap report is a requirement prompted by changes to the Equality Act, which came into force in April 2017. The first figures, published in 2018, showed that the construction sector had the worst average median gender pay gap.

Research from world-leading recruiter, Randstad shows, less than 20% of employees in the construction industry are female, while data from Young Women’s Trust highlights that for every female apprentice there are 56 males.

Stewart Milne Group has introduced a number of training programmes in an attempt to attract more people into a career in construction, regardless of their gender.

Ms Catto added: “In the past, there has been a perception that site supervisors would be required to work on-site in a manual role before progressing to a managerial position. This can often deter people, particularly females, who have an interest in construction but do not feel that they are suited to a labour-intensive role.

“The introduction of both the Graduate Apprenticeship in Construction and the Built Environment programme and a newly launched Fast Track Modern Apprenticeship provide alternative routes into senior roles at Stewart Milne Group.”

In addition to attracting women into the sector, there have also been challenges in retaining female staff with a study published by Moncaster and Dillon showing the majority of women leave the industry within five years of beginning a career in construction.

Stewart Milne Group’s year on year improvement in the gender pay gap is also attributed to its diversity and equality training which aims to highlight unconscious bias and ensure the group creates a safe and supportive working environment for all irrespective of age, gender or ethnicity.

Ms Catto said: “We are very pleased to have some great examples of women who have risen to senior roles in the group and act as mentors and role models to those joining our industry.

“Of course, we recognise we have some way to go. We will continue to promote the benefits of our industry to women and also ensure our own recruitment, learning and development strategies support their development into senior roles.”

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