Why aren’t there more women in senior positions in the construction industry?

21 June, 2019

Author:

‘Changing perceptions, promoting positive role models and education at a grass roots level are the only ways we’re going to be able to get women into senior positions and really address the gender pay gap.’ – Ali Ratcliffe, Associate sustainability consultant.

International Women’s Day may be over but the message it promotes should certainly remain present in all of our minds all year round. With the recent release of companies’ gender pay figures it’s apparent that there’s still more that needs to be done to readdress the balance and ensure that young women are given as many opportunities as boys to reach their potential – whether that’s in typically ‘male’ roles or not.

We need more women in senior positions if we’re to achieve a fair, collaborative and – ultimately – more successful and diverse workforce.

I think changing the perceptions of those who may be of the older, more traditional generation is a big obstacle that needs to be overcome. I know my female peers at Pick Everard haven’t found this to be an issue within our firm (you can hear more about this in our Perspective Podcast episodes) but I know some women are put off by potential prejudices which may remain in the older generation.

The only way to change the perceptions of those who may not have faith in women occupying top positions is to increase representation, showing that we really are just as capable as men.

At Pick Everard, we have a lot of women in senior roles and this is not only setting an example to other women but is now also putting pressure on those with outdated views who have only known one way of working. The next generation is opening doors for women and I’m proud to be promoting this message and be part of the change.

With more women being highlighted as role models now I believe that this provides the opportunity to inspire and encourage the next generation of female leaders, showing young women that there’s nothing that can stand in their way if they want to get to the top. We attend careers fairs and open days and represent women in the construction industry as STEM ambassadors – acting as women that students and children can relate and look up to.

We also have summer placement students at Pick Everard who spend time with each discipline during their time here. They are able to experience what it’s like to be an adult in an office environment and are exposed to women coordinating and leading teams, having the same relationships with clients, supply chain partners and other team members as men.

It’s not just about showing that women are leaders but also about proving that the chain of command is just as strong with women in the workplace, at whatever level that may be.

Educating students at primary school age is incredibly important. We need to catch children before gender stereotypes have formed, showing them the opportunities that are available to them and make sure that women are involved in this educating process in order to rewrite what may be perceived to be the norm. Children need to visually see and connect with what we’re telling them and doing this at a grass roots level is really helpful.

My advice to any young person who may be interested in getting into any aspect of the construction industry would be to:

  • Find out what you’re good at
  • Research where your skills can take you
  • Find someone who is willing to help you and guide you who is already in the industry

 

 

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