Women are making inroads into the construction industry - Hazel Davies

In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, it’s time to step back and reflect on the positive changes sweeping through traditionally male-dominated sectors, particularly housebuilding. At 15.8 per cent, women make up a higher proportion of the construction workforce than ever before.

While there is still a long way to go, the landscape is evolving and we’re seeing a rise in women taking the helm. Inspiring leaders like Jane Wood, Chief Executive of Homes for Scotland and Gillian Ogilvie, Managing Director of engineering firm Will Rudd are just some of the women at the top of their game.

Within the Cruden Group, we have been building homes since 1943 and pride ourselves on a culture of inclusivity and diversity. It’s not about filling quotas or meeting diversity targets; it's about genuinely recognising that women bring unique and complementary skills which enhance the fabric of our organisation.

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Across Cruden, women hold pivotal senior positions in a variety of what might once have been considered ‘male’ roles – in technical, commercial and pre-construction to name but a few.

Hazel Davies is a Director at CrudenHazel Davies is a Director at Cruden
Hazel Davies is a Director at Cruden

As a mum of two girls, I am all for empowering women to believe they can be anything they want to be. This got me to thinking about the standout qualities women bring to the workplace, and pretty close to the top of that list is creativity. Beyond the rigid (but important!) confines of numbers and KPIs, women often think laterally, see things from different perspectives and inject creative flair to incorporate new trends and innovations. In an industry that moves lightning fast, this quality is invaluable.

The housebuilding sector is a tight-knit community and sharing best practice is key. Whether it's internally, with clients, partners or stakeholders, women often emerge as linchpins in fostering strong business relationships. Their ability to communicate, respect diverse opinions, and manage interactions with finesse contributes to the overall success of an organisation.

Women also tend to excel in navigating interpersonal dynamics, being inherently intuitive and considerate of others’ feelings. Relationships matter and this skill not only develops a healthy work environment, but is instrumental in understanding negotiations and customer engagement.

Women also have multitasking in their DNA. Hands up anyone who’s typed an email, whilst taking a call, whilst loading the washing machine and making a packed lunch for the rest of the family? And all before 8am! Juggling work and personal life comes as second nature and that spills over into heightened productivity and focus at work.

Women make up 15.8 per cent of the construction workforce (Picture: stock.adobe.com)Women make up 15.8 per cent of the construction workforce (Picture: stock.adobe.com)
Women make up 15.8 per cent of the construction workforce (Picture: stock.adobe.com)

This very focus underpins women’s solution-driven and team-oriented approach. Ego takes a back seat as ideas are shared, and successes celebrated collectively. This collaborative spirit is a major marker of success here at Cruden and key to a positive culture.

But above all, women are resilient. We have faced stereotypes and misconceptions, emerging stronger on the other side. This resilience not only benefits individuals in leadership, but also serves as a driving force for positive change.

We must recognise and celebrate progress in the construction sector. Women are major players in leading and shaping the industry's future. Personally, I’m proud to be a part of this transformative journey, proving that a successful career and a fulfilling personal life are not mutually exclusive.

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And what of my girls aged eight and 12? With wide-ranging (and frequently changing!) career aspirations from ‘café lady’ to ‘astronaut’, they might even follow my footsteps into housebuilding. In the meantime, at Cruden we continue to build on the great work being done to break down barriers, redefine norms and #InspireInclusion, proving that success knows no gender.

Hazel Davies is a Director at Cruden

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