In Part 2 of Surveying the Future, we meet three female surveyors who share their experiences of working in a male-dominated industry.
Employer: Vail Williams
Role: Planner Part 1
My passion for construction and the built environment was sparked at a really young age as the result of frequent visits to a local museum.
On a typical day I will be working with architects, archaeologists and local council planning departments in order to plan and deliver a functioning building.
My own experience of the industry so far has been a really positive one, and
while I’ve always been aware that I work in a largely male-dominated industry, I’ve never felt intimidated by it or seen it as a barrier to my own progression.
It would be great to see more young women coming into the industry. One of the main challenges as I see it is that as an industry we need to do more to attract diverse talent – particularly when it comes to young female recruits. I really believe that, by increasing collaboration with schools, we can influence and inspire more young women to join the industry and show them that a successful career within it is theirs for the taking.
In years to come, I believe I can attain a more senior role within my organisation – there really is nothing stopping me as long as I continue to work hard and prove my worth.
Sarah Jones MRICS
Role: Senior building surveyor
I’m currently a senior building surveyor and I really love the diversity of the role and the challenges it throws at me on a daily basis. On any given day, I can be found on site co-ordinating such tasks as the helicopter airlift of vital building materials and equipment.
Working in the construction industry wasn’t in my mind when I started my career. Looking back at careers advice, the construction industry was never even presented to me as an option. I do think the construction industry has moved on in recent years in its attempt to attract not only women, but people from diverse backgrounds. However, I feel there is more work to do.
Changing outside perceptions is also crucial. From talking to many young women, it is clear lots are put off because they feel the industry is male dominated, based in on-site manual labour. This is not the case, and can be remedied by supplying young people with more information when they start thinking about their future career path.
I don’t think compulsory boardroom quotas are the way forward. All the women I know in senior positions
have got to where they
are because of their hard work – not because
they are needed to
fill a quota.
Sue Lees MRICS
Employer: Jaguar Land Rover
Role: Surveyor based in corporate asset management
In my 27 years at Jaguar Land Rover I’ve worked in a variety of departments and in a number of diverse roles.
I enjoy my current role in the property department so much that, following qualifying as an associate surveyor in 2012, I’m working towards becoming Chartered within the next two years.
As part of my role, I deal with all of Jaguar Land Rover’s property transactions and acquisitions. I did have some preconceptions about the property industry being male dominated, but I tend not to dwell on the fact that as a female I’m in the minority. In fact, I think it drives many women to exceed what is expected of them – thus giving them a great range of skills and knowledge.
I strongly believe that women don’t want to be given special treatment. However, our industry needs to market itself better in respect to the people it’s targeting. Young women looking to gain a foothold on the career ladder need to have their perceptions of our industry changed. Perhaps there should be greater focus on promoting the sector within the educational framework so that, for future generations, construction is seen as a gender-neutral industry.
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