An Investigation of Women Engineers in Non-Traditional Occupations in the Thai Construction Industry

Nuanthip Kaewsri, Tanit Tonghong


Abstract

For over a decade, the public and the private sectors have carried out research aimed at attracting women engineers to the construction industry and retaining them. However, studies on women engineers working in other types of construction-related businesses apart from contractor companies such as consultancies, developers, etc., have not been many. This paper aims to examine the experiences of women engineers in non-traditional careers and the implications for their turnover. A literature search on women’s careers in construction was performed in conjunction with semi-structured interviews with a sampling of 141 individuals. Results from three viewpoints, viz those of professional men and women engineers in contractor companies, and women engineers in non-contractor companies, were found to differ in many respects, including their opinions about career advancement, career path and the difficulties involved. It was also found that women engineers in contractor companies were much more affected by problems such as sexual harassment, work-life conflicts and equal opportunity than women engineers in non-contractor companies. Turnover rates of women engineers and their reasons for leaving were examined. Women engineers, particularly those in contractor companies, had to confront more barriers in non-traditional careers than their male counterparts.  Nonetheless, working in non-contractor companies provides a viable alternative for women engineers who want to have successful careers in the Thai construction industry.

Keywords

civil engineer; women in construction; non-traditional career; Thailand

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