AN APPRAISAL OF THE CAREER EXPERIENCES OF PROFESSIONAL WOMEN IN THE NIGERIAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
The construction industry by its nature is male dominated and the low level of participation of women within it has attracted a lot of attention globally. In recent years, the industry recorded a slight increase in women participation but this is still insufficient to meet the challenges faced by the Industry on a daily basis. This research therefore investigates the positive career aspect of the few professional women who have made it to the top of their careers within the Nigerian construction industry by exploring their career experiences and expectations, examining the challenges to their participation and their notable and career satisfying moments along their career path. A biographical interview was conducted with forty-five (45) female professionals whose work cuts across all the sectors of the industry. The data collected were analysed using thematic analysis method by grouping the results and organising them according to their opinions on issues discussed. The findings show that their experiences are not peculiar to them because they are women, but generic to both sexes which demystifies the male only image of the industry. It exposed the rare moments, job satisfaction, and excellent achievements which overshadows the challenges faced by the women. The women interviewed were found to have dealt with the challenges in a way that allowed them to balance both work and family commitments, and to them success is not only measured by work achievements alone, but also by achieving success at the family end. The study also found that lack of money stands as a major barrier alongside other challenges which are geographically based and are surmountable. The research recommends that the dissemination of information geared towards the enhancement of the image of the industry as it relates to women is necessary especially one based specifically on the opportunities available and the successes attainable within. It also developed guidelines for enhancing women’s career within the Nigerian construction industry.
1.1 Background to the study
The Construction industry is one of the most important industry sectors in terms of economic growth and employment opportunities (Powell, Hassan, Dainty, and Carter, 2007). According to the findings of Adeyemi, Ojo, Aina and Olanipekun, (2006), the Nigerian Construction industry is responsible for about 7 percent of the fixed capital formation and contributes 3 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP). It is estimated that over three million people work in the industry in various capacities as professionals, administrative staff, operatives and laborers. Thurairajah, Amaratunga, and Haigh, (2007) in their research also reported that in the UK economy, the construction industry contributes approximately a tenth of the nation’s gross domestic product and employs 1.9 million people from its work force.