Women in Construction – Rytons March 16, 2016
Construction has moved on a fair bit in the last couple of decades, with an increasing diversity of employees and greater appreciation of the contribution that women can make to the industry.
Gone are the days when construction teams would be made up solely of white middle aged males, with virtually no mix of race and gender.
Now, not only is the industry seeing the biggest differences in its work force than ever before, but companies such as Barratt Homes are actively urging more women to consider a career in construction and many firms believe that women could be the answer to filling the growing void in skilled workers.
Times have certainly changed and now 19-24 year old women are being strongly encouraged to take up apprenticeships in construction.
Stephanie Hay, Joinery Apprentice for Barratt Homes said in an interview with Womanthology recently that while there are always challenges working in a very male dominated sector – because of the differences in abilities and strengths – she felt the men on site treated her with real respect and had made her feel part of the team.
She advised women interested in construction to not be afraid to get out there.
Across the pond in the USA women are being hailed as a rapidly growing force in the construction industry and if major developers have their way, it won’t be long before it’s the case over here in the UK.
In an interview with the Exeter Express and Echo earlier this month, Barratt regional managing director Paul Moran said: “With the government significantly ramping up its commitment to building more homes, there will be more and more jobs to be filled within the industry and it’s important that we close the gender gap.”
He went on to suggest that one of the reasons behind the imbalance in genders within construction could be the perception that the only roles are bricklaying and plumbing. This, he said, couldn’t be further from the truth.
He added: “There are hundreds of different jobs that work together to make a successful housebuilding company; from designers and planners to finance directors and quantity surveyors. The more we can spread this message, the more chance we have of creating a more gender-diverse industry.”
Helen Beese, 39, is a Senior Project Manager with a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. She said: “I’ll never forget my first boss’s words to me about being a woman in construction 20 years ago. He said: ‘Use it to your advantage, but don’t abuse it’.
“This has worked throughout my career and I believe that women can add to an already diverse and unique mix of people required to deliver a construction project.
“Long gone are the days when women had to prove themselves as well as doing their day jobs! Of all the projects I have worked on, both in the UK and the Middle East I have been treated as a professional and part of the team, which is exactly how it should be.”
So it seems that there’s a job for everyone in the construction industry. And, with the gap in the market for skilled workers getting ever bigger year on year, as more housing developments begin, this can only mean good news for anyone looking for a career in construction.
If you would like to find out more about working in the construction industry, get in touch with us today.