As BAM celebrates International Women’s Day, Adam Harding, a member of BAM’s Diversity Steering Group, encourages women to think about a career in construction.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is: a better balance, a better world. The same applies to the construction industry. And the same applies to BAM. We want a better balance in our company, because we want to be better equipped to meet the challenges ahead in society and to design, build and manage sustainable buildings that will serve people’s needs in the future.
Within the construction and property services industry, the proportion of women - at about 14% - is far too low. There is still a view among some parents, teachers and young women themselves that construction is not a suitable nor an attractive career path for a woman. It’s a view that is way, way, behind the times.
The old fashioned image of building sites is long gone. Companies like BAM have done lots of work to create respectful environments where a person’s gender, race and ethnicity is irrelevant. So-called banter based on these attributes is simply not tolerated. We are becoming better at the way we recruit, using software to ensure we use gender neutral language to help us attract the widest pool of candidates. We’ve been training our managers in unconscious bias to remove any barriers to appointment and progression. And we realise that we have to offer more flexible working options because people of both genders want a better work life balance, and because, when you enable a better balance, employees are more engaged and ultimately productivity increases.
The essential attributes for success in our industry is to be someone who likes working with other people in a team to get things done. And the things we get done, - creating buildings and facilities - make a positive difference to people’s lives. Our teams get a fantastic mix of experience; interacting with a wide variety of people, and collaborating and learning from each other in a team environment.
There are few industries where you can say that if you are talented and hardworking you can not only progress within the industry, but actually change people’s lives positively while doing so!
BAM recognises that a diverse workforce makes so much sense. We want to harness the creativity we can achieve with different ideas and views in our business….a balanced business is a better one.!
As a father of three daughters, I would be happy if they followed me into this industry one day. And if you know any women wanting to start out on a new career path, I hope that on this International Women’s Day you’ll persuade them to seek out a career in construction.