women in construction

 

Time to Remodel Your Perceptions - Women in the Construction Industry 

Whilst we talk mostly about real estate at JLF and Custodian, we also talk about cash flow. And, of course, what gives us cash flow are the houses on the land which fall into the realm of construction. 

Whilst we aren’t builders ourselves, we do like to keep our finger on the pulse of construction in Australia, and as our Construction Operations Manager I thought what better to address than women in the construction industry.

Hidden away in the small print of a government report on employment in 2016, you’ll find a note that tells you everything you need to know about women in construction.

In April-June 2016, there were so few female workers in the industry that for many of the individual building trades the government was unable to even provide an estimate as to how many there were.

Despite the lack of available data, from the boardroom to building site it is estimated that women account for around 12.8 % of the industry’s workforce. 

On the contrary, I, myself have managed a team of 5 women for the past four years at JLF/Custodian – and yes, we work within the construction industry. Having worked in the construction industry for nearly 8 years, from Construction Administrative Assistant to Operations Manager I have seen a positive change and focus on women in the industry; however, it must not stop here. 

At Custodian we educate and provide the skills and tools that the average Australian needs, to be able to secure financial freedom.  I, myself am building a property portfolio to secure my future and have just signed my 3rd property contract – all at the tender age of 27. 

I had the pleasure of speaking with two women who have been working in the construction industry with a combined 23 years’ experience. 

Liz Ryan 

Liz Ryan has been working in the construction industry for a period of 13 years. A the age of 18, Liz was introduced to the building industry specifically and has since made her way to the position of Development Manager at national development firm, Grocon. I asked Elizabeth a few questions on her experience and time within the industry. 

Do you believe the construction industry has changed its attitude to women during the time you have been employed? 

“Yes and no. I have definitely noticed an increase in the awareness of diversity and its importance in our industry, but there is still a lot of action to be taken. Some companies have started to ‘walk the talk’ with changes to flexible working, maternity/paternity leave, recruitment policies etc. with great economic results but many have not, and realistically we all have a responsibility to make change

Women also have a huge part to play and need to start applying for those jobs that seem out of reach, ask for pay-rises, and learn to properly network within the industry. A well-respected recruitment consultant within the property industry was recently telling me that many people contact her when their performance reviews are approaching to find out what industry is paying for their role and level of experience, to help them get an idea of what they should be asking for. The shocking part was that in her 10+ years’ experience, no women had ever called her to ask this question - only men!"

Liz Ryan

 

If we change our attitude to realize that we all have a part to play, I’m sure we will accelerate meaningful social change. Two key ways I think we can play a part are:

1. Talk about it - attend industry events, understand the benefits of diversity and equality and then talk about it with your peers, mentors and people you meet. 

2. Get a mentor - someone you can chat to about their experiences, help you with networking and improve your confidence.”

What do you love most about working in the construction industry?

“I love the products we create and the relationships we build through our projects. I especially love the innovation and creativity that we can come up with as an industry in response to our market. Embracing change is important and exciting!”

Svetlana Duricova

Next, I spoke Svetlana Duricova who has been working in the construction industry for a period of just over 10 years, since 2008. Svetlana began her career in the construction industry as a bookkeeper and is now employed as senior Accounts Manager at a small property development firm.  Svetlana also holds a Civil Engineering Degree, which ironically is also a male-dominated area.  

Do you think the construction industry has changed its attitude to women during the time you have been employed? 

“I definitely think the industry has changed. I remember when I first finished my degree in Engineering and I can clearly recall myself and only 3 other women graduating back in 1991. I found it hard to get my first job as I was always walking into a male dominated industry and the only women that worked within the industry at the time were receptionists or personal assistants. In today’s society, I feel that it is an advantage being a woman as gender equality in the workforce is well-known and discussed topic. 

My daughter is also following in my footsteps and is currently studying a Bachelor of Property Development.”

What do you love most about working in the construction industry?

“I love the variety of the people I deal with. I have been lucky in the sense of knowing man people within the industry that has its advantages. I am currently in the process of building and designing my own home and I have all the trades and advice at my fingertips!”

Lastly, women face a greater risk of economic insecurity in retirement than men. Fact!

Svetlana Duricova

 

To be economically secure in retirement means to be financially secure through a steady income and/or other resources to support a decent standard of living in the foreseeable future. Currently, women retire with on average half the superannuation of men. A consequence of this is that women in retirement are more likely to live in poverty than men.

Addressing this issue today is essential to improve women’s economic well-being and financial security in retirement. 

Organisations can take a leading role in addressing this issue by improving the organization-wide gender pay gap, and improving women’s access to leadership and management roles. 

Women must champion and empower other women in the workforce and specifically the construction industry as a male-dominated, but of course to all industries, as we begin to close the gap and reach our full potential.