How many women do you see applying for construction based jobs?
Honestly, none! (Unless it is a construction administrator role)
How do you think we can encourage more women to apply for construction jobs?
Companies should treat employees equally, no matter the gender. They should be flexible, support greater diversity and be open minded about whom is applying. We have a duty to set the record straight and prove that women do have a place within our industry, and stomp out those stereotypes! If companies within the construction industry actively promoted the women in their businesses, I feel this would help showcase that their business has opportunities for women in construction, and might help promt female applications.
What are the challenges being a woman in construction?
Unfortunatelty, you are always on the back foot being a female, and you have to prove yourself so much more than if you were male. I find you have to work harder to gain respect, and the lack of other women to support you can also be a struggle.
What is your experience being a woman in construction?
I look at being a woman within the construction industry in two ways. On the one hand, the reality is that you don’t get many young females in senior business positions striding on to building sites in their hard hats and hi-vis jackets, so I totally understand that there’s an element of trailblazing, hopefully for other young women to feel they can do the same as me. But on the other hand, I totally agree with Deborah Meaden from Dragons’ Den who said in an interview that she doesn’t want to be thought of as a ‘woman in business’ because it automatically makes an issue of her gender. She said she was simply ‘in business’ and that’s all that mattered. While it is important for women to be seen to be getting ahead in business, I think, ultimately, most of us would just like to get to the stage where gender is no more taken into account than shoe size.
‘Just getting on with it’ is very much my mantra. I know I can deliver for my clients and candidates and that’s what matters. Yes, you have to put on a bit of a front if you are going on to a busy building site, and not take any nonsense, but ultimately, if you are good at what you do, I’ve proven you can build a great business. Last year, I went out on site and laboured for a week to raise awareness for women in construction, and if I am honest, everyone was extremely supportive and they commended me for being ballsy, hopefully encouraging others into the industry. If you gain the respect of the men within the industry, they will actually do all they can to support you.
How do you think the industry can help encourage women to apply for construction jobs?
We need to start educating people early. We need to show young girls that the construction industry isn’t just for men, that it can be a successful career path for women also! We should also be including women in the recruiting and onboarding process to show a less biased viewpoint, and providing regular networking and support. Businesses should also ensure they create a welcoming environment for all genders, with the correct equipment and facilities, and should also offer as many opporunities for women as possible which can be done through training, apprenticeship programs and mentoring schemes.
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