07 Mar U&M Group Support International Women’s Day
As a construction company, covering everything from underpinning to structural repair and refurbishment, U&M operate in what has traditionally been seen as a male-dominated industry. Of course, there’s absolutely no reason in 2022 to perpetuate this myth, and we’re doing our best to make our corner of the sector a fully equal opportunities space.
Equal Opportunities Recruitment
In an ideal world, of course, as many women as men would apply for construction jobs, and all we’d need to do would be to assess them on merit. Unfortunately, the myths around “men’s jobs” are still strong, affecting girls as they grow up, and we don’t get the applications we’d like from women.
Our solution to this is to actively reach out. Quite apart from making it clear in job ads that all vacancies are gender equal, we go into colleges to recruit. We encourage female students, as well as male, to think about construction as a sector they could thrive in. The ideal employee for us is all about skill set and personality, not about gender.
Breaking Through the Stereotypes
Although we struggle to find applications from women for traditionally male roles, we have had successes in breaking through the gender stereotypes. For example, we’ve either employed or subcontracted women in roles such as engineering, project management, carpentry, bricklaying and decorating.
In addition, we have women employed in roles that cross the traditional gender divide. For example, our office manager Sharon’s role includes attending sites to do site audits, and she’s also transport manager for the company.
One recent initiative that we’re hoping will bear fruit is to start new employees, both male and female, as admin assistants and encourage them to find roles in the company that reflect their skills and interests. We’re hoping that this will facilitate women who might have hesitated to apply directly for construction vacancies to realise that these jobs are completely appropriate and open for them.
Changing the Culture
U&M has worked hard to ensure that the culture of our construction sites is one that a woman could fit into just as easily as a man. However, in order to ensure that that we receive plenty of job applications from women, other cultures need to change, too.
This starts, of course, with parents ensuring that their daughters are encouraged as much as their sons to play with practical toys like Lego or Meccano. Just as importantly, schools need to make sure that girls are encouraged to take up the practical skills they’d need for construction and other traditionally male sectors.
We look forward to the time when women working on our construction sites will be no more unusual than men. In the meantime, if you’re a woman (whether mature or still at school) who wants to find out more about a career in construction, please get in touch with us.