Construction's Growing Appeal to the Fairer Sex

Dale Potts
There is growing evidence that an increasing number of women are turning their backs on ‘traditional’ careers in consumer markets in favour of the challenges presented by more technically focused sectors.

Female engineers, architects and plumbers are much more common today than in the past and construction industry marketing departments have seen a notable rise in female job applicants.

Leading cost and project management consultant Faithful+Gould is a case in point. The £120 million turnover consultancy, which works on many of the world’s most familiar buildings, has a 14-strong marketing team. All but one of its members are women. Says Bev Cook, head of marketing, "Seven of the team has been recruited over the last year or so reflecting a drive for further growth both in the UK and internationally. The marketing positions are based at our offices around the UK and, when recruiting, a high percentage of job applicants have been female, which is reflected in the final makeup of the team. I believe the appeal of the industry lies in the relative complexity of the challenges presented. As a company, we also provide structured training and career development opportunities for all our people adding further to the attractions of a career with our organisation."

Her views are echoed by team member Emma Frost. A graduate of York University "Having settled on a career in marketing, I gave considerable thought to the types of industry that might appeal. I suppose many might choose the world of consumer goods but I find the complexity of professional services a much greater challenge. The marketing issues presented by construction services are just as significant and a degree of technical complexity is integral to that challenge. There is real excitement in working with people who help turn initial concepts into buildings like Selfridges in Birmingham and the Freedom Tower in New York. These are developments that are central to regenerating our cities."

So, whilst a few years ago there might have been a token woman in the team is there now a token male? Says Bev Cook: "As it happens, the newest addition to the marketing group is James Smith, but a token male – "certainly not", says Bev, "Simply the best candidate for that role."

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