Investigation into the lives of professional women in the construction industry

Ramedupe, Rachel (2014-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to make industry employers, teachers and career guides aware of the barriers that continue to hold back women from pursuing careers in the construction industry. This research study focused on females working in the construction industry and investigated the experiences of women who chose to study construction-related degrees. The goal was to communicate what influenced their choice to study degrees in the construction industry, and what factors are currently influencing their career development. This was done with the purpose of finding solutions to re-engineer and transform the industry and make a form of transformation. A quantitative research methodology was used as a means of collecting and analysing data. This comprised of questionnaires which were designed and distributed, using targeted sampling, to 82 women studying construction-related degrees and 54 women actively employed in professional positions in the South African construction industry. Respondents’ experiences were captured with quantitative data on education, course preference, family involvement, mentors, self-efficacy, women involvement, cultural influence, image of industry, reason for entering industry, motivator/influencer, traditional beliefs, social and cultural beliefs, government involvement, time, slow career progression, inclusive environment, queen bee syndrome, site conditions, discrimination and harassment. The data was analysed by using quantitative methods. Questionnaires were developed and ranked on a scale of one to five, namely strongly agree to strongly disagree and interpreted by means of counting the frequency of occurrence of answers to each ranked question. Percentages were then calculated and responses weighted according to average means. The findings and conclusions indicate the choices women make, what motivates women in South Africa to choose careers in the construction industry and the barriers encountered by them. The results from this study highlight the need for a shift in the industry; and the findings give employers, teachers and career guiders insight into what draws women into the industry and what underlying issues women face once in the industry. This provides as a guide for strategic change within educational environments and within the industry to encourage more women not only to draw themselves to find careers in the construction industry, but also retain them.

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