Buildbase has just held its first Women in Buildbase conference, bringing together 30 senior women within the company from across all departments, to discuss how we can attract and retain more women employees within Buildbase.
It’s our way of beginning to address the fact that while we offer brilliant roles for men and women at Buildbase, women remain unrepresented in the construction industry nationally.
Only recently, the Welsh division of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) said perceptions of the industry as “only suitable for men”, though outdated, were still “commonplace”.
Buildbase is already a great place for men and women to work and to advance their careers, which has developed many outstanding industry professionals regardless of gender. However, it’s important that we encourage more women to apply for jobs at Buildbase and ensure we are an attractive, long-term employer for existing female employees on their own career journeys.
We already have some outstanding role models among our female employees who can testify to the fact that Buildbase is a workplace suitable for women. And that goes beyond what might be seen as traditional female roles, extending to the previously, more frequently male domains of branch management and building yards.
However – in line with changes in society and to our customer base – the construction industry needs to attract, and keep, more women and that needs a rethink.
Buildbase Leicester Branch Manager, Ellie Parkes – who started in the business as an Administrator – attended our conference. She said: “We are lot better than when I first started when it was very much a man’s world. Now, men can see more clearly that women are as capable at doing the job as a man but we need more women to recognise that there is a job for them in this business.”
Christine Crawford, Branch Manager for Buildbase Law added: “It was great to see so many women at the conference and it was pleasing to see how far we have come as a business in what is still a male dominated industry; employing so many more women in senior positions compared to how it was when I joined the company almost 15 years ago. Back then I was encouraged to progress into the role of Branch Manager by my peers who believed I could to the job even though I was in the gender minority. It would be great to see Buildbase encouraging more women to join the business, be it in the yard, driving a lorry or even better, as a manager!”
But truly tackling the problem of gender in construction shouldn’t begin only with the women we employ. We also have female customers who need to feel valued and respected for the work they do in their own male-dominated environments.
Our conference and the conversations we’re having internally at Buildbase are a good starting point. Permanent change won’t happen overnight, which is why this needs to be a consistent and concerted commitment to welcoming women into the industry and our business.