Think of an industry dominated by men? Construction is probably one of the first that comes to mind. Of all the people working in construction, women comprise only 10.9%. Even smaller is the number of women on the front lines of a job site — only 1 for every 100 employees in the field.
The fact that women make up 47% of all employed individuals, this means that the construction industry is only benefitting from about 1.25% of women in the workforce. We spoke to Carly about her role in construction, a typical day in her role and what makes her proud about working in the construction industry.
What is your Job Role?
I am a Health & Safety Consultant at SHE Advises Ltd
How long have you been in the industry
I have worked within health and safety for my whole career since 18 years old, starting as an Administrator for a local offshore company. From there I progressed through a number of safety roles including H&S Assistant, Coordinator, Advisor in oil & gas/renewables manufacturing, utilities, and then in to construction. I have specifically worked in construction for 5 years, from 21 years old.
What advice would you give to a young woman entering the industry?
My advice for a young woman entering the construction industry would be: believe in yourself! You have every right to be in the room/on site/at a company as the guys do. Be willing to learn from other skilled professionals around you, don’t be afraid to start from scratch or to try something new. Also (something I believe in out of work, as well as in work)… your comfort zone is an amazing place, but you will never grow there – step out of it and take the leap! You never know what opportunities might come your way.
What’s the best part of your job?
Working directly with people! I am a real people-person and I love instilling confidence in my clients on how to best manage their health and safety.
Tell us about a typical day
My typical day would always start with a dog walk down the beach to prepare me for the day. I would then visit a client on their premises, such as a house-builder, a trade like an electrician or joinery workshop. We would then focus on a particular area to work on for the day, such as noise or vibration, or perhaps a particular document that needs reviewing and updating. I speak to the teams “on the ground” too, to develop working relationships with all employees and understand the job that they do on a day to day basis, along with the risks that come with it.
What is the biggest change you have seen in the field since you started?
The biggest change I have seen is the promotion of mental health awareness. It is so refreshing to see companies putting in place strategies and arrangements to accommodate their employees’ mental health, as well as their physical health.
What makes you proud of working in the construction industry?
Tough question this – I enjoy seeing young people that want to take up a trade/work within the construction sector, which is now deemed more ‘acceptable’. When I first started in construction, there were very few young people, let alone females, who were working in construction, and to see that becoming more popular is very rewarding. I am also proud that I encourage and promote employers/those within the construction industry to ensure the safety of their workforce, so that they can go home to their loved ones every day.
What is your favourite tool or machine
Has to be a 360 excavator!
If you are interested in getting involved and supporting the Women Rock Construction campaign – We’d love to hear from you! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can get involved and help spread the message.