Misconceptions of Women in the Construction Industry
The construction industry is often wrongly mistaken as a male dominant industry, and we want to change that.
For Women in Construction Week, we’ve asked some of the amazing women who work here at Keepmoat Homes what misconceptions they’ve faced during their careers, and their advice for other women looking to enter the industry.
Lizzie Whitehouse, Head of Customer Care in the West Midlands, says one of the best ways to overcome misconceptions is by gaining plenty of knowledge in your area and joining in with conversations.
“When I first started in my construction career and started visiting sites, I walked around talking to contractors who assumed I worked in admin, until I started getting into detail about certain topics and showed that I knew the industry.”
“I think you can kill with knowledge – once you start joining in conversations, people see that you are confident in the topic being discussed and it speaks volumes.”
“Don’t be put off applying for roles within construction. I started in market research for supermarkets and bars but took a punt applying for a role in the construction industry and have never looked back since!”
Lizzie Whitehouse, Regional Head of Customer Care
Sophie Tranter, PA to our Yorkshire East Regional Managing Director describes how the construction industry can be seen as ‘a man’s world’, but this doesn’t stop her.
“One of my favourite things to do to overcome misconceptions is to show my face on site, as well as speaking to site-based staff at work socials. We’re all a team, so wherever I can help them with IT issues or admin, I’m always willing to lend a hand.”
“I think it’s important not to overthink situations because you only get in your own head. Do your job to the best of your ability and be helpful where you can, you never know, it might just make someone’s day.”
Sophie Tranter, PA
A career in construction can be very rewarding for women and there are so many different roles that together, contribute towards the project from conception to delivery, including site management, quantity surveying and marketing, and all these roles play a key part. Phoebe Barrett, a committee member of the Association of Women in Property, and Technical Coordinator here at Keepmoat Homes has shared with us her advice for women starting out in the industry.
“My advice to women looking to get into the construction industry is to be fearless. It’s good to fail and don’t take no for an answer.”
“Finding the right career within this industry is about experiencing new things and finding out what you enjoy. Everything takes time, so enjoy the process.”
“Keepmoat Homes is my first taste of the housing industry, and since joining I’ve been exposed to a large range of technical and construction elements which has taught me so much! I’m able to do training, obtain further qualifications if I wish, and really develop my career by communicating with senior management consistently.”
Phoebe Barrett, Technical Coordinator
Liz Baker, Regional Buyer at Keepmoat Homes, and a lover of all things dogs, has also shared her views and advice for women working, or looking to enter, the construction industry.
“I have worked in the construction industry for 25 years and thankfully find that women are well respected in this environment and are not expected to act differently to men.
“The only misconception I stumbled across was while taking my CSCS course. The worker I approached assumed I was there for the driving theory and when I corrected her, she said, ‘wow we never get any women doing the CSCS course’. This was a surprise to me, as there’s lots of brilliant women I work with in the industry.”
“My top piece of advice for women in the industry is to be yourself!”
Liz Baker, Regional Buyer
As a company, we’re driven to provide opportunities for women who aspire to achieve, particularly in managerial roles. Having started her career in accounting, Charlotte Goode realised the building industry opened many doors for her and since joining us in 2016, she was able to achieve her goal of Managing Director within two years.
“I joined Keepmoat Homes as a Finance Director with a personal aim of becoming Regional Managing Director within five years. After a lot of hard work, late nights and dedication, I was offered the role within two years.”
“As Regional Managing Director for the West Midlands I find every day brings such a variety of work and challenges but for me, being operationally minded, continually changing and adapting to new challenges and developing a great team around myself, has helped progress my career quickly - being good with numbers is of course an added bonus.”
“My advice to young women who are interested in the industry would be that you have to be flexible in your role and take up opportunities as and when they arrive, even if it’s not exactly the path you originally planned to take.
“It’s about finding the perfect balance and I’m an advocate that if you put your mind to it, along with the added work, you can achieve anything.”
Charlotte Goode, Regional Managing Director
Our aim is to open more doors to women. As an industry, we’re offering flexible and agile working, which is key for attracting more women into the industry. Whether it’s working from home or job sharing, there’s now a variety of ways we’ve been able to incorporate flexible working here at Keepmoat Homes, to attract and retain female talent.
Erica Johnson, mum and Technical Administrator in our Yorkshire East team has shared with us the misconceptions she’s faced in the industry, and what she’s done to overcome them.
“In previous roles I was often told that I would “never be more than…” due to being a mother and not having a degree. I moved on to other industries but ultimately decided that I had the ability to be a mum, work in property, and have the flexibility I required.”
“I found great confidence in myself over lockdown after setting up a successful Instagram page for my home renovations. I was then employed by Keepmoat Homes for my knowledge of the field and passion for property and renovation, which felt incredible. The team I have around me are wonderfully supportive and have explained how they’ve been successful, regardless of their education status, and that we’re all part of the same team, with the same goal.”
“My suggestion to women in the construction industry is that we are all building our world, so let’s build it better, together.”
Erica Johnson, Technical Administrator
Our employees are a true inspiration to other women considering the industry for their own career, and clearly demonstrate the important role women play in the construction sector.