Date
27 May 2017
A government-backed campaign aims to lure new entrants, including women, into skills training to support Hong Kong’s construction sector.
A government-backed campaign aims to lure new entrants, including women, into skills training to support Hong Kong’s construction sector.

What it’s like to be the only woman at a construction site

Projects such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the high-speed railway to Guangzhou have led to a tight situation in the labor market in the construction sector for years.

Engineering and construction firms are in great need of additional talent, according to a recent report from recruitment firm Manpower.

To ease the shortage, the sector has been trying to improve its image and cast its net wider to target women workers as well.

Sonia, 23, joined the field two years ago after getting her associate degree. She is now an on-site assistant surveyor.

Pay was one key attraction. Sonia makes close to HK$20,000 a month. A clear career path and good promotion chances are also luring more young women to the profession.

“In my class, there were 20 girls out of a total of 90 students. It was quite easy for us to find work after graduation,” Sonia told Hong Kong Economic Journal Monthly.

“You can study and achieve a range of qualifications.”

Sonia spends most of her time on paperwork and goes down to the sites occasionally.

Although she is the only woman in the department, she says that is actually an edge.

“Male colleagues are quite willing to take care of me. For women, as long as they are polite and keep a smile, usually most people are willing to help you,” Sonia says.

As any big project lasts at least four to five years, job security won’t be a problem.

A minor issue, however, is the dusty and sometimes dirty work environment, which can come hard on the skin and may take women workers a bit of time to get used to.

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RC

EJ Insight writer

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