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Construction - not for girls??

To mark this year's "Women in Construction" week, we're asking two of our Quantity Surveying team about their experiences of working in a male-dominated industry and the insight they have gained...

Figures suggest that women currently make up around 14% of the total construction industry workforce. While gender bias does still exist in this (and most other industries) we applaud the efforts that are going into making the construction industry a level playing field, and enhancing equality, diversity (whether race or gender) and opportunity for all.

Here at #TeamWilten we firmly uphold these principles and (judging by the comments from Vicky & Lydia below) we believe there has never been a better time for women in construction...

Vicky is Senior QS at Wilten, Lydia is eight months into her training - here's what they had to say:

1. What motivated/inspired you to pursue a career in the Construction Industry?

Vicky: It’s fast paced and ever changing. No two days are the same. Always a challenge...

Lydia: After a career in education, I fancied a new challenge. The construction industry brings plenty of opportunities and potential career paths. I also love the variety each day brings!

2. What (if any!) are the best things about working in a male-dominated industry?

Vicky: As daft as it sounds I don’t think about it. We can do anything the guys can do! No-one multi-tasks like a working mum!

Lydia: Having come from a female-dominated industry, it has been interesting to see the flipside. I have found many people are willing to support you and want to see you do well, regardless of gender. I have even heard male colleagues saying they would like to see a more diverse environment with more women in the construction industry.

3. Have you personally ever experienced gender bias or sexism/chauvinism in the workplace, and how have you overcome this?

Vicky: There will always be bias, maybe you’re young, maybe you’re female – all you can do is prove that you know your stuff and let the results speak for themselves.

Lydia: I’m sure most people experience bias in some form, whether that be because of their gender, age, background etc. Sometimes people may do it without realising. I tend not to let it bother me. I think the best thing you can do in that situation is hold your head up high and show them what you can do. Being thick-skinned is important as a woman in this industry, and as long as you (and your bosses) know you’re doing a good job, it doesn’t matter what others think!

4. Do you think that women have the same opportunity for career advancement in the industry, based on merit?

Vicky: Yes I do, the industry is growing and evolving and I see more and more women in construction – we need to see more women CEOs though!

Lydia: I would hope so! I have seen many empowering and inspiring women within the construction industry already in my 8 months of working here 😊

5. Would you specifically like to see more women at the sharp end of the industry?

Vicky: Definitely – provided of course they are the best candidates for the role.

Lydia: Definitely, it would be nice to see – if they are suited to the role, then why not!

6. Any other comments?

Lydia: I do think the industry is targeted more at men from a young age than it is to women. I had never really considered Quantity Surveying before, I even asked before I started if there were many female QS's in the industry. Schools and educational institutes could do more to inspire young women to want to work within construction and the many opportunities it brings.

If you'd like to read more about the subject, here's a few useful links:

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