20 June 2013 — For every dollar a man earns in the construction industry, a woman doing the same job earns just 82.3 cents.

And the gender pay gap must be closed if the industry is to attract and retain the best and brightest women, says the National Association of Women in Construction.

Chief executive officer Sheryle Moon said men were frequently paid more than women.

“While the common excuse for this 17.7 per cent pay gap is that women take time out of their careers to be carers, the truth is that the pay gap is established from the moment a woman commences her career,” she said.

“A study by Graduate Careers Australia released earlier this year showed the average gap in starting salaries for graduates is $5000, and that the pay gap for graduates in the building industry is by far the worst.

“How do we explain to talented, educated and skilled young women that they can expect to earn $9000 less than their similarly qualified male colleagues?”

Ms Moon said a discussion paper, What women want in a construction career, released in April, explores how to boost the participation of women in the construction industry.

“We know that attracting and retaining more talented women requires a change in the way our industry is structured,” she said.

“It means encouraging flexibility, embracing diversity and investing in attraction. It also means ensuring that women receive equal pay. Closing the gender pay gap should be an industry priority.”