Target women young and show them the construction industry is a place for both sexes
There was once a time, not long ago, when construction work would come to an abrupt halt if a woman appeared on site. Thankfully that time is behind us and today more women than ever before are visible at senior levels in the construction industry.
Here at Robinson Low Francis, for example, we have one female partner, several female associates and plenty of women moving through the ranks.
This is in part because construction is finally being recognised as a valuable career path: the importance of the built environment, with its links to sustainability, to the economy and to quality of life, is finally being appreciated.
The issues facing the property sector and construction industry have risen up the news agenda and gained credibility, probably thanks to iconic projects that have captured the minds of the nation: Wembley Stadium, the Eden Project and the Millennium Centre in Cardiff to name just a few.
Yet the struggle is not over for women, as we still make up only 15% of construction professionals, still command lower salaries than men and are still offered fewer opportunities for progression.
The way to change this is for more women to join and progress within the industry.
The Construction Ambassador scheme seeks to encourage girls – and boys – to consider a career in construction.
Organisations like Women in Property hold roadshows hosted by female construction professionals acting as role models and demonstrate a career path to the top.
The children I meet through these schemes still hold the glorious notion that anything is possible, and embrace opportunities with enthusiasm and passion.
By connecting with young people and helping them understand that the construction industry is a place for both men and women, we can create an environment in which high-ranking females will become even more widespread in the future.
Carol Bell is senior project manager at Robinson Low Francis.
Original article title: 'It's a man's world'.