What is it like for women working in housebuilding?
On International Women’s Day, we asked our female employees about their experiences working in housebuilding, and ask – how can we attract more women to the sector?
The housebuilding industry is often thought to be male dominated. Whilst this may have once been true, the sector is changing.
Indeed, women make up 42 per cent of Countryside’s Board and we are committed to increasing diversity by providing an inclusive working environment where everyone feels valued and respected.
In honour of International Women’s Day, we spoke to Countryside’s female employees about what it is like to work in housebuilding. Rebecca Worthington, Countryside’s COO, said that, from the outside, the sector appears to be fairly narrow in terms of available job roles - but this is a far cry from the truth. “There are so many opportunities, so many different avenues and different skills, whether you’re onsite or in the office,” said Rebecca.
Whatever may have been true of the housebuilding sector decades ago, the tide is certainly turning. Marie Stolworthy, Health and Safety Systems Manager, Countryside, commented, “Fourteen years ago, when I first came into the industry, the construction sector was male dominated. But since then, I’ve noticed a huge change - not only in health and safety, but across the whole business.”
However, there is still work to be done. One of the reasons the industry has been slow to attract women workers is that not many people are aware of the range of career opportunities available within housebuilding. In order to encourage more women to enter the sector, it is important to spread the word and educate younger generations about the variety of job roles on offer.
Not only is there a wide range of different jobs on offer within housebuilding, but each role provides real variety. “One day I will be selecting tree species or paving materials for a park, and the next I will be leading meetings with high-profile people at local authorities,” commented Jo Clark, Countryside’s Associate Director Planning. Graduate Trainee, Christina Coe, agreed, saying, “The best thing about my job is the amount of varied work you get. I would not want to work in any other sector.”
It is essential that women considering entering the sector understand that times are changing, and that the perception of housebuilding as a male-dominated industry no longer applies. Jo Clark stated that, “These days, there are women at all levels. Whether it’s planners, engineers, architects, or local authority officers – there are lots of roles to be held.”
Housebuilding and construction have so much to offer young people. From architecture and site management, to marketing and accounting, there are so many different career options within the sector, which compliment a wide range of skills and qualifications.
Furthermore, this is a truly exciting industry in which to work. As Rebecca Worthington commented, “We are creating homes and communities; we are part of something important. That gives people a real lift in terms of enjoying and deriving satisfaction from their jobs.”
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!