Opinion

Addressing the gender imbalance in Gulf construction

Addressing the gender imbalance within the GCC construction industry has been a key issue for the editorial team at ME Consultant for quite some time.

Regular readers will note that it’s a topic that we circle back to quite often, and while we don’t want to seem like a stuck record, we do believe that it is a vital issue that needs to be taken very seriously.

To its credit, the industry does seem to be taking note. Just this month, we have Simon Moon, CEO for the Middle East at Atkins, telling us that his consultancy is increasingly focused on tapping into an oft-ignored sector of the talent resource pool in the GCC – the educated, young and female segment of the Gulf Arab population.

While there are several female architects, engineers and project managers of note operating in the UAE and Qatar, there is still quite a way to go. In our conversations with the industry, we’ve found that the most common issue among women in the construction industry is a lack of support.

Atkins is again taking a leading role in addressing this, having launched a Women’s Business Network in the Middle East. This is clearly an issue that Simon Moon is very passionate about. He reveals that when recruiting for its annual influx of graduates, the consultancy is careful to ensure that there is a strong female presence among the new recruits, believing that it is key to the continued diversity and success of the company.

I can only hope that this attitude continues to grow, and the signs are promising. Spreading the message from consultancies, into the contractor sector, and then onto construction sites themselves will be the next step, and that’s where the real challenge will lie!

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