What does Twitter Think About Women in Construction?
Last week, we hosted a lively Twitter chat session where we discussed some of the current issues around Women in Construction and careers in construction. We’ve picked some of the great discussion points raised in the session.
Female Role Models
Our participants identified the need for female role models within construction are needed to inspire women. @WIConstruction tweeted, “We also believe in the power of role models – so important for women to see others successfully working in the industry.”
A sentiment echoed by @ConstructionYT who said that “being able to connect our young women with inspirational female construction and built environment professionals is so powerful.”
@GoConstructUK suggested that “sharing real stories” from inspirational females “inspire new joiners to the industry and career changers too.”
They also suggested that we all have a role to play in “encouraging #womeninconstruction to advocate, engage, educate.”
Educating the Education Sector
In recent times, many have questioned whether construction is given the prestige and exposure as a potential career for school leavers.
Our respondents were unanimous in their view that more can be done within the education sector to raise the profile of construction as a potential career option.
@ShayTailored_xo said that “in schools, construction is still very much seen as an industry that is for men only” and that “stereotypes about the industry need to be dismantled.”
“our audience say that they didn’t know construction was an option as it was never discussed in school.”
In response, @GoConstructUK tweeted that they “see this a lot, where our audience say that they didn’t know construction was an option as it was never discussed in school.”
Novus People and Culture Director @SeddonSophie, who was on-hand to throughout the chat session, agreed. “We need to educate our schools of ALL the opportunities within construction.”
“I have seen time and time again construction is given as an option as a non-academic alternative. This is so limiting to individuals and the reputation of our amazing industry.”
To address the potential roadblock, new follower and electrical apprentice @electrical_bp suggested that taking the same approach to the one we have seen recently with “STEM but for women in construction”.
Employers could “visit secondary schools during ks4 assembly or end of term enrichment /tutorial slots” in order to draw attention to careers within the sector.
This is clearly an area of keen interest for Novus colleagues too, as was demonstrated by our recent roundtable panel discussion recorded for Women in Construction Week 2021.
Mirroring @ShayTailored_xo’s view that “stereotypes need to be dismantled”, Go Construct told us that females “have faced being stereotyped and have had to put in the extra work to be taken seriously and recognised in their role.”
In response, Stewart Hastie, our training and development manager, suggests that this issue is still a significant challenge in construction and that more needs to be done to “challenge some of the gender stereotypes” that undoubtedly still exist.
He went on to say that there is a necessity to continue “educating the sector” into changing those perceptions before real positive change can take place.
Challenging Behaviours and Attitudes
Sophie Seddon raises the point that “the construction industry is all about relationships and it can be a real challenge being brave enough to call out poor behaviours with people you have spent a long time building those relationships with, particularly if they are micro behaviours.”
A stance that @WomenInConst keenly supported by tweeting that in their opinion “micro-behaviours are the most difficult to identify and call out!”
On a positive note, @arobin33 said that she felt things are “getting better” generally and that “attitudes are changing – it’s not all negative. There have been really positive conversations and changes made around the challenges.”
Whilst @EngineerMimi_ identified a “Lack of flexibility” as being a challenge for in construction. She feels that as “women have many roles to play in society, the construction industry can sometimes be viewed as a career path that cannot cater to all these roles.”
What can employers do to enable women to thrive in the construction sector?
Straight out of the gate, @ShayTailored_xo said “PPE that fits!” would be an important improvement. Having ill-fitting PPE just “perpetuates the narrative that the industry doesn’t consider women.”
A sentiment matched by @GoConstruct who encouraged employers to “Break down barriers and build strong support networks for your employees ensuring there is an inclusive culture and environment.”
@clairelahughes thinks that it’s “important to offer flexibility, with working hours, work base etc. Also, to support ongoing learning and development within the workplace.
And @EngineerMimi_ encouraged employers to “support and guide women who want to reach board level and present women with opportunities for growth.”
A view that would have resonated with Novus Board member Sophie Seddon, who gave the advice that being aware of your own personal “journey” was crucial for women working on construction careers and having clarity “about where you are trying to get to!
“It requires the effort of all colleagues in an organisation to make waves.”
Sophie went on to say that employers must “give everyone the support to achieve goals and plans set out” and that “it requires the effort of all colleagues in an organisation to make waves.”
What opportunities are available in the construction sector?
Stewart Hastie kicked things off by tweeting “the sector offers a whole range of opportunities from trades to operational roles including Marketing, Finance, HR, Project Management, to name but a few.”
Go construct agreed and reinforced the idea that “a career in construction doesn’t mean being on-site,” something that may deter many from entering the sector. “There’s something for everyone,” they said.
@arobin33 and Go Construct once again highlighted the important role “apprenticeship opportunities from different trades” have in providing an entry route into construction Go Construction couldn’t “advocate for apprenticeships enough” and mentioned the “additional funding for traineeships” that currently exists.
Finally, commercial and residential decorators @_smithdec said that “the opportunity to see tangible results for your work, day in, day out is one of the most rewarding aspects of working in construction.”
This clearly being a significant motivating factor for them for their own career within the sector.
Join the Conversation
If you would like to join this conversation, we encourage you to visit our Twitter page and add your thoughts to the chat. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and add your comments to any of the Women in Construction roundtable videos we have there.
We’d love to see you on the next Twitter chat!
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