Skip to main content

Wednesday 4 April 2018

A recent labour force survey by the Office for National Statistics reported that just 13 per cent of the current UK construction industry workforce is female, with this figure not changing a great deal in the last two decades.

Perceptions of the industry typically focus on a man's world with muddy boots on dirty building sites. With this idea, it's not surprising many women don't consider a career in this field; however the reality is actually very different. The construction industry is highly respected, offering a wide range of highly technically-skilled roles with lots of opportunities for career progression.

We caught up with three of our female construction students, who talked to us about the best bits of working and studying in the industry, and advice they would give to others.

marianna-women-in-construction-articleMarianna Ulderigo
Estimator at Colt International Ltd
HNC Quantity Surveying (Part-time) student

Why did you decide to pursue a career in the construction industry?
I have always worked within a technical environment since leaving school. My Grandfather was an architect and I loved the layout drawings and designs of buildings.

What do you like best about construction?
The variety and problems that you may come across, dealing with any issues and coming to conclusions which result in project completion and a happy customer!

How do you feel your studies at Solent are helping you prepare for your career?
Solent has been a great assistance in my career path, providing me with the extra skills needed to progress within the industry.

What would you say to other women who are interested in working in the industry?
I would say, go for it.  The industry is still male orientated, but there is always space for us girls to do the same role and make important decisions like our male colleagues.  Site work can make a role more interesting, being more client and customer facing, rather than being in an office all week.

emily-women-in-constructionEmily Jayne
Quantity Surveyor at Dyer & Butler Ltd
HNC Quantity Surveying (Part-time) student

Why did you decide to pursue a career in the construction industry?
Originally, I did a BA degree in marketing, advertising and communication at the University of Gloucestershire. After a few years working for a civil engineering company in their marketing department I realised how much I enjoyed working within the industry and decided to change my career and become a quantity surveyor. 

What do you like best about construction?
The people. Working within this industry, I have found myself with the most interesting, intelligent, friendly and funny people. I also enjoy being a part of a project from start to finish and seeing it physically grow and develop.  Being a part of a multimillion pound project has its challenges, but also has its rewards.

How do you feel your studies at Solent are helping you prepare for your career? 
I've really enjoyed my time at Solent. In our first year we studied construction surveying which covered a lot of mathematics and I was quickly able to apply this to my work out on site.  We were also taught how to use surveying equipment which I would not have had the opportunity to use at work. Having this knowledge has given me a greater understanding of engineering and made me a more well-rounded surveyor.

What would you say to other women who are interested in working in the industry?
Making the move from marketing to quantity surveying was a daunting challenge, but it was the best decision I made.  The construction industry is fascinating, and you get to work with some great people. There's no doubt that the construction industry is male dominated, but it's definitely not something to be apprehensive about and any assumptions should be left at the door.  The industry needs more women and I couldn't recommend it enough.

sophie-dyer-women-in-constructionSophie Dyer
Site Manager at Wates Construction
BSc (Hons) Construction Management (Part-time) student 

Why did you decide to pursue a career in the construction industry?
I fell into the construction industry by chance after attending an early careers roadshow held by my company. In all honesty, before that I wasn't even aware my current role existed, but I liked everything they said about being a site manager - a role where you’re not stuck at your desk; working with a wide variety of people on a daily basis; constantly busy;and never having the same day twice!

What do you like best about construction?
Being on site. Watching the job progress is fascinating, within a day you can notice the progress that has been made and feel like you had a part to play in that. At the end of every job I have been on so far I have felt really proud to be handing over a quality building to the client. Having gone through all the manic days and hard work, it’s really nice to have the job satisfaction.

How do you feel your studies at Solent are helping you prepare for your career?
I was very lucky to have made it onto the trainee scheme with Wates, where I was given full sponsorship to complete a part-time construction management degree alongside working. My studies have helped me to understand processes at work and to get a better understanding of construction management. The course has helped me become a well-rounded site manager and taught me valuable skills which I can then implement into the workplace.

What would you say to other women who are interested in working in the industry?
When I began my career I was a trainee site manager who knew very little about the industry and my role. I always found if you are keen to learn there's so many people around you who will teach you and help, and before you know it you’re fluent in the industry acronyms and like role reversal, people are asking you how things work and what to do. It’s a great industry to join because as you find your feet you realise the thousands of roles available to branch into, so if there's something in your current job that isn't quite right for you, you can easily change that.

Find out more about our architecture and construction courses