Women in the building industry
As I reflect on a semi-heated discussion (in a good way) I had with two of my staff last week about women in the building industry, the neglect of the importance of women in the industry and the huge but largely untapped opportunity for women to shine, I write this blog.
During this discussion, two of our key employees shared their history and experience of the “boys club” that existed in their previous roles, excluding them from sharing in the celebrations of their own professional achievements. One highly experienced staff member shared about a time she was greeted at a work awards function and promptly informed that “the wives are all over that way”. This person was there as a representative of her company, and a key figure in the success of that business leading to them winning an industry award. There are multiple stories of women being nudged out, discouraged and unrecognised in companies where they make a huge tangible impact.
It’s got me seriously questioning how and why this is still the case in our, or any industry.
SEE Business Solutions employs more women than men and in the building industry this is seemingly abnormal. I have even had my own issues with people questioning why I hire so many women which surprised me as it had never been a conscious decision, I simply hire the best person for the job, male or female. When I employ someone, I look at work ethic, passion and skill. I have never seen gender, appearance or age in any of my interviews and I never will.
Unfortunately, I believe that the imbalance in the building industry has led to women feeling that they have to prove themselves repeatedly, before earning respect from their fellow colleagues.
I heard a story recently of a young woman desperately wanting to become a trades apprentice, but her mother pointed her in the direction of a hair salon apprenticeship instead. This shows that it isn’t just a men’s attitude towards women issue, it is a societal and accepted gender roles issue.
There is more opportunity in the building industry for women to earn more money, to grow in personal and professional development and to also gain a potentially wider set of skills overall, so why aren’t more young people, male and female, being encouraged to go down this path?
As a company who develops businesses within the building industry we recognise how important all roles within a business are. Typically, in our smaller client’s businesses, it is a husband/wife scenario and I can guarantee you if the wives weren’t in the business, they simply would not survive both financially, operationally or emotionally. We also work with many clients who now have additional women in their organisation and commonly working on site. This is not a fad and we are extremely excited to see this happening in our industry and want to encourage and equip others to continue to do the same.
At SEE Business Solutions, we are passionate about educating, coaching and helping to raise the bar not just for our members but for our industry. Which is why we want to encourage the women in our industry by equipping them with the opportunities they need to grow and reach their full potential.
This will be a key part of SEE Business Solutions‘ focus moving forward to assist women in the building industry through constant education, networking, promotion and support.
Watch out for upcoming SEE women’s events and please reach out if you have a story to share or you would like further support in your journey.