Closing the gender gap in the South African construction sector remains
a massive task. According to the
Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) statistics, there are 437
women-owned contractors in grades 7 to 9, which is only 1% of the total 40 065
women-owned contractors, the vast majority of whom are still in grade 1.
Although great strides have been made, gender representation is still below the
50% mark for positions that come with a great deal of influence.
The engineering and construction sectors where the ratio of men to women
is 16% versus 6%, more work remains to be done for women to progress up within
the construction industry ladder. The
need to transform various aspects of the construction sector is paramount,
particularly if it is to remain economically viable in a country whose economy
is strained. In the past two years, massive job cuts, liquidations and gender
discrimination within the sector have been a cause for concern with little to
no change or solutions proposed to help stabilise this important sector.
The National Construction Incubator (NCI), which was formerly known as The SEDA Construction Incubator (SCI) is actively working towards reforms in the construction sector. With their targets for contractors exceeding 12%, this has contributed 3% above the target for jobs created in the 1st and 2nd quarter and an additional 139 temporal jobs created. A clearer look:
Number of jobs
Generated by NCI Clients
women owned companies supported
youth owned clients supported
The NCI is also addressing a number of topical issues within the industry:
- Women empowerment:
The NCI recently marked its own milestone on the road to an inclusive and
equal construction industry, achieving an enviable 83% female component of
Senior Management. Ms Patt Mazibuko is the new CEO, with Dr Joy Ndlovu chairing
the board. Dr Ndlovu’s areas of
strength lie in her advocacy of entrepreneurship, leadership and
- Development and mentorship:
StatsSA reported as many as 30 000 job cuts in the construction sector in
2019. This is incredibly disheartening and calls for development of
emerging contractors and mentorships to help remedy the situation by
reimagining the models in place within the industry. Through the infusion
of both technical and business administration skills to drive the
technologies required for optimal operational and management performance,
the industry can thrive again.
- Job creation:
Giving support to contractors through funding, mentorship and
interpersonal development has been at the heart of the work that the NCI
does and has proven to be efficient, testament to that, they have managed
to create 139 temporal jobs and managed to exceed their job creation
target by 3%. These growth points are a massive win within the industry as
they are geared towards strengthening the sector.
With the strides that
the new NCI is making in sustaining the industry through various changes aimed
at growth, the organisation is in the forefront of creating opportunities to
improve the sector through its strategic positioning. Ultimately, the sector
will continue to develop and contribute to the economy of the country by implementing
innovative and just means in redressing the stifling elements that have long
crippled the construction industry.