Women in Construction: Building Surveying

Jenny Beilby
Despite increased diversity in the workplace and all the discussion around women in construction, female construction students remain around 10% today.

My career in the construction industry started with my degree in building surveying 15 years ago. We were a cohort of forty and four of us were women. Despite the disparity in genders on my degree course, I enjoyed the work and recognised that it was hugely varied and would never be dull. My first work experience came three years into my degree, when I spent a year in industry. I took a position with a surveying practice which consisted of two partners. 

As the only trainee in the office I was lucky enough to get involved in many different tasks. I was quickly out of the office with my manager doing condition surveys, measured surveys and attending site meetings. I studied on a part time basis whilst working at the same company. My career then progressed in leaps and bounds. I gained a first in my degree and became chartered a year later.

As the only trainee in the office I was lucky enough to get involved in many different tasks.

I stayed with my first company for ten years until I realised that I wanted to broaden my experience of different sectors. It was difficult to leave the place that trained me and gave me great opportunities, but I moved to a similar sized practice who dealt with a different client base. After five years there, I joined Faithful+Gould to take on the challenge of leading and growing the building surveying team in Oxford. It was a great opportunity and I never felt that being female was a hindrance to applying for this role. 

The hardest part of my career has been gaining confidence to attend site meetings and deal with contractors and other consultants. Not because I had ever been subject to any negativity, but simply because in my own mind I was concerned that more experienced colleagues would think that as a young woman, I didn't know what I was doing. It can be difficult to build up confidence in your own abilities, and if you are in the minority it can be much harder. As time went on I gained experience and my own inner doubts gradually diminished.  

Faithful+Gould is very proactive in providing support for career development and it’s great to work for such a positive, professional and collaborative multi-disciplinary business.

I believe that a positive outlook helps with progressing in the construction industry. I think my personality has been my biggest asset as I am a 'people person' and this industry is fundamentally all about communication with people. I enjoy building a team to complete a project successfully.       

I have had a brilliant grounding in a wide range of building surveying services in the first 15 years of my career and now I’m in the great position of being able to pass on my knowledge and advice to others in my team. Faithful+Gould is very proactive in providing support for career development and it’s great to work for such a positive, professional and collaborative multi-disciplinary business.

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