With the subject of gender diversity in the construction sector an ongoing issue of importance, we at diversityjobs would like to highlight the headway being made by our members in this sector.
Education plays a crucial role in encouraging more women to enter the industry. Beginning at school, girls need to know that it’s OK to be interested in jobs that aren’t conventionally female, and there needs to be a support network for them to follow their ambitions, from teachers to parents, to education authorities and employers. In a sector still rooted in masculinity, a change in culture appears necessary for construction to become an increasingly inclusive industry. Take a look below at the brilliant work our featured members are doing to tackle and promote gender diversity in the workplace.
Built by Both is a networking organisation launched by a group of graduates from Barratt Developments and designed to help promote and encourage young women into roles within the house building industry. The idea of Built by Both developed as the graduates noticed a need for change in the industry due to the inadequate depiction of women in the housebuilding sector. The network covers all sectors within the built environment to encourage the next generation of aspiring developers, planners, architects, engineers and other specialities. The team at Built by Both are in talks with highly influential people and other networks within the industry, including NAWIC, RICS, Women in Planning, Women of London City Hall Network, Construction Youth and Get Her Trade. The organisation holds student experience skills workshops and INSPIRE//NETWORK events to bring together role models from the industry to commend gender balance in all areas of the built environment. The focus of these events is to inspire attendees to see that the industry provides brilliant opportunities for women, but also that more women are required to enrich our built environment.
Are you interested in a career with Barratt Developments? Please click here.
Balfour Beatty has been a partner of WISE (Women in Science, Technology and Engineering) since 2015, supporting them in their work to encourage women and girls to choose science, technology, engineering and maths as a way to a stimulating and rewarding career. Balfour Beatty is also a member of The 5% Club, a UK industry-led initiative dedicated to generating momentum behind the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into the workforce. Charlotte Owen joined Balfour Beatty on a Higher Apprenticeship Scheme and gave her advice for women considering a similar career:
“There is nothing to stop you from going as far as you’d like in construction – there are no barriers and no-one treats females differently so aim high. If you start as an engineer you can branch out into many different roles such as design, construction and project management. I have never had any problems furthering my career. I don’t notice when I am the minority on site because the industry is full of great people – male and female – and it’s these people that make it a joy to do this job.”
Are you interested in a career with Balfour Beatty? Please click here.
Diversityjobs’ member Lendlease is proud of its female employees and their commitment to their careers, however, it still aims to help grow the number of women in built environment industries to 50% by 2025. They are committed to a level playing field, giving women and men the same opportunity to thrive. Lendlease have a range of policies and programs including flexible work, best practice paid parental leave, and other family benefits. Their targeted programmes support developing and current female leaders in achieving their career goals.
Are you interested in a career with Lendlease? Please click here.
Diversityjobs member High Speed 2 (HS2) Limited is responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s new high speed rail network. Female ambassadors at HS2 work hard to spread the message that being a woman is not a barrier to working in the rail industry. Through their STEM inspiration programme, HS2 are taking measures to talk to children about the exciting opportunities in rail and infrastructure through a range of events. With the need for better education to be made available for women considering a career in construction and engineering, the National College for High Speed Rail will be opening in 2017. The campuses will be the most advanced institutions of their kind in the UK – providing industry-led training for 1,265 school-leavers, career-changers and established rail professionals.
Are you interested in a career with HS2? Please click here.
To encourage women to pursue their interests in a career in the industry, BAE Systems run a variety of STEM and diversity initiatives, including engineering taster days and ‘Girls in Engineering’ events where Year 9 to Year 11 students are invited to learn about the varied careers in engineering. These events prove hugely important in showing girls how diverse a career in engineering can be, catering to a range of different interests. BAE systems are partnered with Opportunity Now, the campaign on gender diversity from Business in the Community.
Are you interested in a career with BAE Systems? Please click here.
Atkins is a company who has taken the lead in society to encourage better gender diversity in STEM careers. They have been working hard to increase the proportion of their female staff and have developed a range of schemes to help this along and support women in the business. Their Women’s Professional Network inspires female employees and supports their career progression. Their Women’s Leadership Council is a body made up of their most senior women who guide the way for others working as role models and their Gender Balance Improvement Group constantly monitors their progress. In 2016, several women at Atkins won awards and acknowledgments, including Katherine Ward and Vicky Stewart who were recognised in the inaugural Top 50 influential Women in Engineering List. Rahma Farrag, assistant engineer at Atkins in Belfast, also earned prestigious recognition by not only receiving the Royal Academy of Engineering Rising Star Award, but she was also a Best Civil Engineer Finalist for the 2016 European Women in Construction & Engineering Awards.
Are you interested in a career with Atkins? Please click here.
Resolving the gender imbalance in engineering will not be straightforward. It will entail the efforts of schools, universities, professional bodies, and all the companies that operate in the industry. However, the benefits of greater gender equality are well recognised and irrefutable: greater innovation, higher returns, real job satisfaction and substantial economic, human and social benefits.