“We are convinced that by increasing the gender balance, we will improve the work environment with more perspectives among carpenters – and that this in turn will boost growth and profitability,” says Pirjo Unnerstad, Head of HR at Ikano Bostad.
1% is not enoughIn 2017, about 99% of Sweden’s construction workers were male and the general assumption was that women weren’t interested in becoming carpenters. But Hentverkarna proved the opposite when the first recruitment campaign in 2017 attracted 311 applicants, of which 16 hopefuls with the right spirit and skills were selected for the programme. Thanks to Hentverkarna, Ikano Bostad boosted its percentage of employed female carpenters to 18% by 2018.
A general assumption is that carpentry is too physically demanding for women and can only be carried out by men. Ikano Bostad carpenters paint another picture. They describe a good carpenter as engaged, socially competent and as an excellent team player. As stated by one co-worker: “It’s about being a problem solver with a passion to create. It doesn’t matter whether this person is male or female.”
Our recruits are offered a paid, full-time traineeship running for three and a half years, including both theoretical and practical training. The wages are set according to the applicable collective agreement for trainee positions, starting at 65% of the basic salary and gradually increasing throughout the duration of the traineeship.
Since the start of the programme, 14 women remain on board at Ikano Bostad. The programme has been closely monitored by competitors and today, major companies like JM and Skanska, have launched similar initiatives. “We are proud that together with them, we are making a difference in the construction industry,” concludes Pirjo.
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Ikano Bostad challenges gender stereotypes
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