Championing diversity in the construction industry

03 September 2018

Emma Bull, framework manager for ISG, international construction services company, and SCF framework partner, gives her take on the importance of diversity in the industry.

Emma Bull, framework manager for ISG, international construction services company, and SCF framework partner, gives her take on the importance of diversity in the industry. 

Emma believes that the construction industry needs to do more to address the gender imbalance in our workforce, particularly for the next generation of construction professionals. 

Statistics show that less than 7% of students on construction courses in further education in 2015/16 were female*.

Emma comments: “The industry should reflect our stakeholders who are diverse by the nature of the varied sectors we work in and the clients we represent.

“Different perspectives can only be positive, forcing us to challenge conventions and seek innovation to deliver tech-led and dynamic solutions.”

In support of this, ISG is a proud champion of the Women in Property network, which creates opportunities, expands knowledge and inspires change for women working in property and construction.

Working collaboratively across the local construction channels, Women in Property’s inclusive events help to actively develop an industry that is balanced, diverse and inclusive. 

ISG recently hosted an event in Reading, also collaborating with Constructing Excellence, project architect, Stride Treglown, and the University of Reading. 

The breakfast event showcased progress on the enhanced library facility at the university's Whiteknights campus, highlighting the ambitions of higher education institutions to ensure their estates are future-proofed to remain relevant and attractive to a global student market.  

Business development manager for ISG’s UK Construction West business, and former Women in Property South West chair, Natasha Cottell, summarised: "This was another great opportunity to promote Women in Property on a live site.

“Supporting the continuing development of the next generation of construction professionals is vitally important for the future success of our industry.”

ISG also promotes diversity across industry discussion panels in the south west, facilitating this with media and panel training, providing guidance and confidence to potential speakers. 

Contributing to Women in Property’s latest report, entitled ‘Building: A Better Workforce’, Natasha Cottell joined the panel discussion at the report launch event in Bristol, highlighting the need for contractors to provide flexible working to encourage diversity. 

Similarly, the CITB’s GoConstruct campaign provides useful resources to help people explore the wide range of careers available in construction, alongside diverse ‘day in the life’ case studies and topical articles such as the latest; ‘Eight reasons why we love construction’.  

The wide variety of roles undertaken by women at ISG is evident on its website.

Nicola Coughlin, divisional technical services director, comments: "You are not limited by being a woman within what is considered a male dominated industry. 

“You are only limited by yourself."

Geraldine Tuohy, senior site manager at ISG, added: "The industry is changing and I would encourage any woman to become part of the change towards a more diverse workforce.”

Emma concludes: “This is an industry that generates enthusiasm, creating fantastic ambassadors across our project and office teams.

“Construction can offer a wide variety of career options, which can be both challenging and extremely rewarding. 

“We will continue to work together to ensure a more diverse workforce is attracted to join our exciting industry.”

*(Source: Destinations of Construction Learners in Further Education CITB June 2017).