Women In Construction Week

This week marks 'Women In Construction Week,' highlighting and championing the contributions of women in the construction industry. The theme for this year is 'Keys to the Future,' emphasizing the valuable insights and crucial role women have in shaping the industry's future. Following our discussion on International Women's Day, we explored various topics, including the challenges, advantages, and ways to support young women aspiring to enter the construction industry. 

What barriers or challenges have you overcome working in construction?

Caroline In my early days the industry was mainly male orientated in terms of colleagues, managers and leaders but the balance has shifted and I do now feel that the best person, irrespective of gender, gets the job which is the way forward.

Steph One challenge most notably faced is when attending meetings with a male colleague, on occasion I am almost ignored, and all questions directed to the male colleague which in fact are best suited to myself to answer. This doesn’t happen often, and it’s quite satisfying when I step in to answer the query. I have been supported and stood up for by management and other colleagues on the occasions it has happened!

Sarah G After studying construction for 4 years at college, I worked as a Surveyor/Estimator for a building company specialising in the repair & conservation of historic buildings. It was at a time when there were very few women in the industry, and it was quite difficult at times to get people to accept that I wasn’t there to make the tea or take notes

Sarah P In my early days within the construction industry (bearing in mind my 25 years of experience), I encountered challenges with the older generation of builders who held the belief that construction was exclusively for men. Through perseverance, I successfully shifted these perceptions, and they eventually became my strongest supporters!

Ellie As a woman going into this environment, I was immediately greeted with strength struggles and difficulties being as fast at completing a job. For example, if I was planning to fit 4 door linings in a house, it would take me longer as I would have to move these in 2 journeys instead of 1, losing valuable time on that second journey. C G Fry and the management on my site have been fantastic with helping, they have made it known that I can reach out to any of them or the labourers at any time if I need a hand lifting materials.

Sarah B We are fortunate to work for a company that is very inclusive and haven’t come across many barriers. I think the biggest challenge for me personally was worrying that having children would make me less valuable to the company but that hasn’t been the case at all, I still do the same job I love and they are so flexible and understanding. Its so important for women to feel like they don’t have to chose between having a career or having children.

Serena I don’t feel I have experienced any challenges or barriers, if anything I’ve been supported and taught so much that I’ve been able to progress hugely.

Helen PPE – as a lady who is rather short with only size 3 in shoe size, trying to find something which, not only fits, but is comfortable to wear all day can be troublesome.  It is available, you just need to know where to look.  When I started working in construction, as a single parent, the hours were a challenge, but by putting my own contingency plans in place, were easily overcome.

How do you think school should be help girls identify construction as their career path, and how can we help?

Ellie Any woman considering picking up the tools should 100% absolutely go for it! Each and every one of us working a ‘mans job’ is starting a conversation, breaking the stereotype and changing societal expectations.

Sarah B Schools need to explain the number of different job roles including accounting, sales, procurement, surveying, architectural. Careers fairs really help and having women on our stands to talk to.

Serena Maybe send females from different trades and from different areas of construction management  to talk in schools about all the career paths in construction. Also making work experience available.

Helen I think schools need to show girls that a career in construction is not all about driving heavy machinery, getting cold and wet etc..  There are many different job options which may not be obvious when choosing a career in construction it can be challenging, exciting and interesting with many diverse careers available.

We as a company can invest our time by encouraging girls into construction by having individuals going into schools to explain the varying career paths and prove to girls that there are women working and thriving within the construction industry. 

Caroline What are you waiting for? Whether you are academic or vocational there is something in construction for you – You could be the next carpenter, plumber, design technician, quantity surveyor, site manager or director – the possibilities are endless but the first step is up to you!

Steph Trust in yourself and don’t let anyone make you believe any different. Don’t let being a woman define you.

Sarah G Be strong & resilient! You have the skills to progress in your chosen career and don’t let anyone question this.

Sarah P Embrace your passion and go for it! The construction industry is a dynamic and rewarding field with endless opportunities for growth and success. Don't be discouraged by any preconceived notions or stereotypes - your skills, dedication, and hard work are what truly matter. Surround yourself with a supportive network, seek out mentors, and never stop learning. Believe in yourself and your capabilities - you have the power to build a brilliant career in construction and make a lasting impact in this exciting industry.

What are the rewards and benefits of working in construction?

Caroline You work as part of a well oiled machine with each team contributing to the end goal of building developments that our customers want to live in. From identifying a piece of land through all of the planning, design, commercial, construction, sales, finance and customer care teams we all have our part to deliver and none of this is possible without working together with our sub-contractors, work associates and partners.

Steph The construction industry is so diverse and ever-changing that there is always something new to learn, everyday really is a school day with different regulations and construction technologies for example. Being part of a team – for me this is a huge benefit, making friends and gaining knowledge from those you work with, knowing that someone will always be there to support you.

Sarah G For me it’s seeing the end product. There are buildings you can go past in years to come and say, ‘I was part of that project’.

Sarah P The most fulfilling aspects involve securing a project for the team, seeing projects from their inception all the way to completion. Working as a team to achieve this.

Ellie Job security is a huge benefit to working in construction, there will always be houses that need building and old ones that need renovating. There is huge career progression for those who seek it, there is an avenue for all. There is travel potential across the UK and globally, as you can go anywhere you want to with a construction skillset. 

Sarah B Knowing you’re making a positive impact on the built environment. You can work in construction having studied in so many ways, the college route, university route, apprenticeship, or through hands on experience. There are also so many different roles from sales, buying, architectural to on site, labourers etc

Serena The rewards are seeing that  your work matters, being part of a huge team, meeting new people and  watching everything come together and become the final product. Personally the benefits have enabled me to learn so many new things, take part in courses that have extended my knowledge and skill set, enrol for college and progress.

Helen The people I have met, the chance to learn new skills ie: I am one of the company’s Mental Health First Aiders and job satisfaction.