Culture Club

There are many ways to measure success in business, from profit and market share to customer satisfaction, growth and innovation. But over the past 20 years one metric has become increasingly important and it involves looking inwards rather than out – culture.

While it may not be as tangible as figures on a balance sheet, culture is what takes a company from ‘good’ to ‘great’. A strong culture solidifies company values, promotes staff retention and has a direct impact on success.

It’s no secret that the infrastructure and construction industries are perceived as having something of a ‘culture problem’. Earlier this month (October 2021), Infrastructure Australia released its Infrastructure workforce and skills supply report that found that cultural challenges like the perception of long and irregular hours, travel, inconsistent work, excessive workloads and ‘dog-eat-dog’ work environments are directly impacting the sector’s ability to grow its workforce. By addressing these issues and improving the culture of infrastructure as a whole, the industry can become an employer of choice at a time when all industries are competing for skilled staff.


One of the main criticisms of the construction industry is the lack of female representation. In Australia, women make up only around 12% of the overall construction workforce and just 2% of employees on work sites. But things are changing – between 2015 and 2020, the number of women in construction roles increased by a remarkable 34%. The number of female construction apprentices increased by 115% between 2010 and 2020. A recent report on demolishing gender structures in construction from the University of NSW, found that extensive structural barriers remain in relation to women’s recruitment, retention and progression. For change to occur, gender equality and diversity need to be owned by company and project leaders.

Interestingly, the report also found that formal recruitment channels are one of the most significant ways to promote gender balance in the industry – they give women a genuine opportunity to get a foot in the door, encourage transparent hiring processes and do away with the old school practice of men ‘picking their team’. In fact, purpose-built recruitment strategies can work to change the narrative around infrastructure employment, creating an agile and diverse workforce, and promoting solid career pathways. These are critical to attracting a new generation of infrastructure workers, boosting training and development, and encouraging staff retention.


The infrastructure and construction industries in Australia are set to see an unprecedented surge in demand for skills and labour. At Infrastructure People, we understand that it’s about hiring the right people who will contribute not just to their specific organisation but to the growth of the sector overall. We can use our strategic capabilities to enhance the brands we work with and encourage them to change outdated cultures. It’s time for the industry to be at the forefront of change and create a workforce that is comprehensively qualified to deliver on Australia’s multi-billion dollar future.

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