International Women’s Day: Esther Corns, Associate - Head of Bidding
11 March, 2021
Author: Pick Everard
Esther Corns heads up our bidding team. With over 25 years of experience within the construction and energy efficiency industry, she is responsible for designing and implementing winning bid processes, question interpretation, managing bid teams, reviewing final submissions and collating feedback via debriefs to gain a better understanding of lessons learnt to ensure continuous improvement.
What can be done to get more women into senior positions in the industry, and what difference do you think this will make?
I believe that collectively we need to continue to showcase both our current and future diversity initiatives to encourage women of all ages to consider the construction industry as an exciting opportunity and progressive sector in which to pursue their career.
Similarly, diverse leadership and the promotion of an inclusive culture are key for good business and – most importantly – attracting new talent. Once we have recruited new talent, it’s important for the senior management teams to provide access to training and mentoring to ensure that everyone can achieve their full potential.
I think the impact of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns and restrictions have somewhat forced an attitude change in terms of flexible working arrangements, which can only have a positive effect on staff’s work life balance.
What role do people in your industry have in working towards gender equality in the working world?
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the many positive changes that have happened to create equality, along with the achievements of incredible women all over the world. But it’s also a day to take stock of the work we all need to do, especially in construction given the particular imbalance within the industry.
Two thirds of my team is female, but over the past two years there has been brilliant and positive change across all of the sectors and disciplines at Pick Everard when it comes to the gender balance.
We all play a vital role, and we all need to constantly challenge stereotypes and promote diversity. Sharing our stories, experiences and successes is vital to ensure that we continue to show the range of career opportunities that are available to everyone.
Have you seen a change towards gender equality throughout your career and how do you think we truly achieve this?
Absolutely, and looking back it is really encouraging and empowering to see how far we have come over the last 25 years in regard to gender equality. However, it is also important to recognise that we still have a long way to go.
We need to continue to support women of all ages and within our industry. Being able to mentor, coach and help shape conversations about people’s career opportunities is a wonderful thing. When women support each other, incredible things happen.
What advice would you offer to young women who may be considering (or discounting) working within the construction industry?
Above all, give it a go and don’t be afraid to explore all of the opportunities available to you. Be curious and be ambitious.
I am passionate about encouraging future generations and supporting young people to explore the dynamic and evolving construction sector. I would also encourage young women in particular to consider the array of opportunities available.
The construction industry is incredibly exciting and there is so much diversity and opportunity in the work we do. It really is a unique chance to create a positive impact on every part of the built environment.