The Perception of Barriers for Different Professional Career Paths: The case of future male and female Spanish building engineers.

Autores UPV
CONGRESO The Perception of Barriers for Different Professional Career Paths: The case of future male and female Spanish building engineers.


The precarious position of women and their under-representation in construction settings across the globe, and especially in the more powerful or influential posts, is well established (Greed 2006, Sang and Powell 2012, Styhre 2011, Watts 2009). The construction industry is typically a male dominated industry and presents a major challenge for equal opportunities for women. Previous studies have found that the evolution of women¿s presence in the Spanish construction sector is positive and progressive, but very slow, that there is still horizontal and vertical segregation, and that barriers and inequalities in hiring conditions still exist (Infante et al. 2012). Furthermore, Onsalo et al. (2013) assert that females working as construction site managers identify gender barriers for their professional development in construction companies. Accessibility refers to obstacles or opportunities in the social or economic environment that affect one¿s chances of getting into a particular occupation (Gotteferson, 1981). Judgments about the accessibility of an occupation reflect opinions about how probable it is that one could enter a particular occupation and therefore influence how seriously the person will consider that occupation as a viable alternative. Judgments of accessibility could be based on many factors: availability of the job within the surrounding geographic area, perceptions of discrimination or favoritism, ease in obtaining training for the job, or lack of knowledge of how to enter the job. Up until now there has been little work that has focused on perceived career barriers in Building Engineering students, at least for the Spanish case. Nevertheless, both the number and type of barriers that one perceives can be a limiting factor in career choice. By means of a quantitative methodology, our empirical study explores the perceptions on career barriers that future Spanish building engineers may encounter when trying to find a job or occupation related to their undergraduate degree. The White Book ¿Título de Grado en Ingeniería de Edificación¿ (ANECA, 2004) identifies six professional profiles with their respective occupations for building engineers. Such profiles are the following: Technical site management; Production site management; Risk prevention and Health and Safety; Building operation; Consultancy, Technical auditing; Technical project drafting and development. A gender perspective will allow us to find out whether there are differences between men and women, and to identify barriers for each professional profile. This information will be valuable for predicting the occupations to which women will be most attracted and those they will reject.