Construction is an incredibly diverse industry in terms of offering a variety of career paths, from mining and quarrying to construction of buildings and the manufacturing of products. The construction industry accounts for 10% of UK employment. However, it seriously lacks representation of women across the spectrum of opportunities from site workers to managers and directors. Unfortunately, women only make up 12.8% of the construction workforce, and of the top 30 contractors only 5% of executive board members are women. SAS sit down with Tyler Goodenough to discuss her take on the glass ceiling of construction.
Hi Tyler, you are relatively new to the construction industry. Can you tell us how your career began and where it has led to? And what you find interesting about being a young woman working in this industry?
TG: My career in the construction industry started in 2016 when I saw an opportunity within SAS for a ‘Junior Project Developer’ role. I have always been hungry for generating new business and wanted a role that that involved me working on a project from start to finish. 3 years on, I’ve had the opportunity to develop my skills and take the next step into my career, which is currently managing the Project Development team. I believe that in this industry you see the immediate effects of your hard work from finding a new opportunity or winning the sale. Every day is different due to every job having a different challenge.
What do you feel is a limiting factor to developing your career in the construction industry?
TG: Management was something I always aspired to however, when I first started working in this industry, there were only a few women reaching a higher-level management position. I do believe the construction sector is changing and embracing women into the industry. This is something I’m passionate about, I want women to feel empowered instead of looking at a job description and thinking they aren’t capable.
Why do you think there is a lack of women in the industry?
TG: There are several contributing factors which result in a lack of women within this industry such as the impression that the industry is more suited to men than women, this isn’t the case. It’s important to also consider that genuine interest plays a part in career choices too.
How do you feel that the industry is embracing women?
TG: SAS are trying to promote women in the organisation who are showing either great leadership or core skills. The plan is to help women who want to progress and ensure they have the confidence to either ask or have the tools. SAS have started to publish ‘succession stories’ which will hopefully give women confidence to stand up for what they want to achieve.
Why do you think it is important for women to be involved in the construction industry?
TG: Case studies have shown that women are bringing new ideas into the workforce. This means offering unique ways of solving problems and perhaps new ideas that have never been considered. An increase in employment of women is great, but the real challenge is female employee retention. We need to concentrate on developing and showcasing career progression plans for women. When younger generation see women in senior positions it signals to them that there is no limit on where they can get to.
How do you think organisations can attract women into the industry?
TG: SAS have already started putting a group of women together to go to the NAWIC- ‘National Association of Women in Construction’. Lots of women over the construction industry have joined to bring women together. They’re committed to organising events like site visits, legal seminars and workshops in which women have the opportunity of networking and discussing how to overcome challenges.
What would you say to women who are considering a career in this industry?
TG: If construction is something you want to be involved in, you should jump in to it with both feet. I personally love my job, I’ve managed to work my way up very quickly at SAS and never felt being a woman has impacted my career. If you find a job that interests you, ensure you look through the job spec and instead of looking at the parts you cannot do, focus on what you will excel in.
If you’re good at something, show it, don’t sit back and wait for the career to come to you- go and chase it.