When I think back to when I started my career, things have changed a lot in construction, there has been a move away from the laddish culture that was prevalent on sites in the past. Gone are the Page 3 pin ups and instead we have created an environment on site, where I feel confident challenging those whose behaviour or language is not inclusive or respectful of others, but I know not everyone feels this way and it’s important we all work to continue to change the culture to make sure everyone feels confident and empowered to do so, something I am determined to do on my projects. 

But it is fair to say I’ve not always given as much focus to this, I’m also not saying I don’t have my own unconscious bias, I started my career in a very different era and worked with people with views that are just not compatible with today’s improved standards of inclusivity and respect. Thankfully, this has and continues to change and I now find myself in a position to help accelerate that change. I recently attended the WISE covid heroes event, hosted by Princess Ann, where I was privileged to witness some of the fantastic achievements of Women in our sector (plus I can also genuinely say that I have attended a function, in a palace with a Princess!)  Given the outrageously disproportionate number of men working in Construction versus women, it’s men who are the primary enablers for change and I’m proud to have a platform to help.

However, despite the progress we have made, the fact remains that construction is still a very male dominated industry and for some women it’s intimidating to come into a site environment. 

BAM is committed to ending gender bias throughout our business. We have come a long way as a business but there is still much to do. To support us on our journey BAM recently employed a third party to undertake a Return on Inclusion Audit, which will give us a better understanding of our diversity and inclusion practises and help us to identify ways of to become a more diverse and inclusive employer. We have just received the audits findings and are reviewing them to see how we can implement them across our business. 

BAM is also working with WISE using their 10 step framework, which will help us to improve the gender balance by enabling us to measure our diversity and inclusion efforts and benchmark these against our competitors. To encourage more women into the industry, BAM is contributing to WISE’s My skills, my life database, which links young girls considering a career in the construction industry with positive female role models.

As a father of a young daughter, it’s important to me that we create an industry that is welcoming and supportive of our women employees throughout their careers. At the grassroots level we are already seeing signs of change and last year over 30% of our new Apprentices were women. I am proud that the work we are doing is helping to change the way we do things and ensure that BAM is a place where everyone, including women can flourish. 

About the author

Matt Crookes

Project Manager

Matt studied Project Management at Brighton University graduating with a BSc Honours degree in 2002. After a brief spell with Alfred McAlpine he was accepted onto HBG’s (now BAM) graduate recruitment programme.

Nearly 20 years’ later Matt has delivered a variety of projects within the healthcare and education sectors and in 2018 was awarded a Gold medal at the Construction Manager of the Year Awards. Matt became a Fellow of the CIOB in 2019 and is dedicated to improving the image of the industry. 

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