Catching Them Young (CTY) - Increasing the Number of Females in the Construction Industry



New Zealand Ministry of Business and Employment (MBIE, 2017) has noted the shortage of qualified and experienced workers within the industry. The ministry states that the demand for builders and related trades is set to increase until at least 2022, with a forecast of 50,000 to 60,000 additional workers needed by then (Wenman, 2018). Such a demand requires highly skilled and experienced workers from diverse backgrounds.

Statistically, the ratio between the number of male and female in construction-related professions such as quantity surveying and construction management is not balanced and tends to decline as the years go by, in comparison with other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professions such as medicine or nursing. Females have been termed “a distinct minority” in disciplines like construction as they are one of the most underrepresented workers in the industry.

Amongst many factors contributing to the low number of females in the construction industry are the perception and knowledge gap of influencers in young females’ choice of career. Preliminary findings from ongoing research at Massey University, School of Built Environment carried out on high school year 12, and 13 female students in Auckland show interesting insights that highlight significant influencers such as the role of the mother figure on a young female’s career choice amongst others. The findings will be presented at the next National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) series on April 16, 2019.

For more information on this research, please contact Dr Eziaku O. Rasheed, lecturer in Building Technology, Massey University at Dr Eziaku is the principal investigator for the research – Catching them Young (CTY) – aimed at increasing the number of minority groups enrolling in construction-related programmes in universities. This study focuses on young females, Maori and Pasifika high school students.


MBIE. (2017). National Construction Pipeline Report: A Forecast for Building and Construction Activity. Wellington: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Wenman E. (2018) No easy fix to New Zealand 's shortage in tradespeople and builders. Retrieved 29/03/2019 from here

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