Women in BIM launches global database

Women in BIM has launched a database of women around the world who work with BIM. The database will support women who work in this sector of the construction industry and act as a resource for learning.

The database comes in response to the CIOB report The Changing role of Women in the Construction Workforce, which stated: “Women in the UK construction industry currently account for under 10% of the workforce, reflecting their under-representation in an industry that fails to attract and retain women.”

According to the group BIM faces a perfect storm of diversity challenges and the database aims to ensure that the skills of half the population are not lost.

Speaking at the launch of Digital Construction Week 2016, Rebecca de Cicco (pictured above), chair of Women in BIM, said: “Women who work in the construction industry benefit from the support of their peers. Women in BIM was set up with this aim in mind. Our first task is to work out how many women exist in these roles, where they are located and how can we put them in touch with each other. We invite all women working in BIM worldwide to join our network.”

This confidential database will be used to:

  • Create hubs of support for women to network, discuss and share ideas in the context of BIM and other digitisation working practices around the globe;
  • Gather data and create a series of infographics illustrating our reach globally;
  • Inform the industry as to where Women in BIM can grow and give support within each geography;
  • Provide information and a practical framework to help the industry and governments and professional institutes address diversity issues in the backdrop of a digitised sector.

The database also gives women the opportunity to share their experience and offer their services as speakers and experts.

David Philp, head of BIM at the UK BIM Task Group, also commented: “Fostering a diverse, progressive and highly innovative construction workforce is essential to the future of our sector.

“As an industry we need to attract more than ever the next generation of workers whilst competing against other cutting-edge sectors; we must ensure that generation Y perceive construction as an industry which is technologically advanced and one where diversity is celebrated.

“Moreover, being fair to all is simply the right thing to do. Women in BIM are helping champion this undertaking and I look forward to working with them in promoting a better industry for all.”

Our first task is to work out how many women exist in these roles, where they are located and how can we put them in touch with each other. We invite all women working in BIM worldwide to join our network.– Rebecca de Cicco, chair, Women in BIM

Story for BIM+? Get in touch via email: [email protected]


  1. A great initiative Rebecca – well done!

  2. Such a wonderful initiative!

  3. Why is this focused on women? Why hasn’t something been set up for all people working in the construction industry not just certain people? Let’s get behind everyone who wants to be a job industry it doesn’t matter if your male of female.

  4. Hi Bob,

    That’s a good question, and a good point. It shouldn’t matter if you are male or female, absolutely. But the fact is that it does. There aren’t enough women in the construction industry – and for years organisations have been working to change that. There has been some success getting young women interested – with great projects like Design Engineer Construct, but retention is also a huge issue, because women get into the industry and then they don’t stay.

    I often meet people who ask ‘what can we do about the fact that there isn’t enough diversity in the construction industry?’. People are aware that we are missing out on 50% of the talent, so we need to do something, not just moan about it or quote statistics. That is what Women In BIM is trying to do, for a particular sector of the industry – digital construction – a growing sector where women are even less well represented.

    By finding women already working in the industry we can do loads of things. We can find out and help articulate what might be making them leave, we can do some number crunching, but more importantly we can help women support each other and act as mentors for other women, making sure that what we have stays and grows. The database is the beginning of that process.

    This isn’t the only initiative, and it shouldn’t be – but its doing an important job. And Women in BIM isn’t an organisation for women – it is for everyone – so that we can all benefit from a more diverse industry. I hope you’ll help us.

  5. I think this is a great initiative and Su makes a strong argument for why it’s needed. As far as I can see it is not about giving anyone an advantage but more about trying to understand why our industry (which has a skills shortage) is so bad at attracting and retaining nearly 50% of the working population. I’ve been in construction for 25 years and while diversity has improved it has been a painfully slow process. Anything that can help that has my full support.

  6. While these sort of efforts are all well and good for promoting the individuals involved they only target people who have already chosen a career in the built environment. If people were serious about diversity they’d be in schools influencing teachers, students and parents. The challenge is how to win over parents and help them imagine how their daughters could have a prosperous, vibrant and feminine future by choosing a career in the built environment…and with course fees at £9k/yr it’s going to take some dramatic re-envisioning before parents see a built environment career as a ‘natural’ choice for their daughter.

  7. I’m a qualified female engineer who works for a reputable well known company in the UK. Over the last couple of years I have seen my employee sponsor all the guys who have wanted to do their Masters. Each time I have asked I was simply ignored. My masters is in BIM I was told by my senior Engineer that it is not relevant to my present profession so i have ended up funding the course myself. I do not get any study time I use all my holiday. So there goes the support for women as theses are the underhanded tricks bosses play to keep your skill level back. I intend to leave Engineering. The salary in BIM is so much more as it is classed as a super-skill. When some of my fellow colleagues looked at what I could earn one I have the qualification you could tell they were not pleased for me.

Comments are closed.

Latest articles in News