Generally, what features in people’s mind at the slightest mention of the construction industry are tools and hard hats. Nonetheless, societies have conditioned people to believe that construction industry is a patriarchal environment for so long. For instance, in the Australian construction industry, women still only make up only 12 percent of the workforce. Albeit certain barriers, women continue to build their path in the industry. The construction industry is diverse, with a series of specialisations that offer opportunities to women from different backgrounds.
At Construction Specialties Australia (CS), based in Sydney, 33% of the workforce are female. Interestingly, none of the women had any direct experience in the construction industry prior to joining the CS team. But it did not take long for these women with many special skills to transition from their female-based industries such as beauty therapist, copywriters, waitress and airline hostess, to the construction industry.
Take for example, May and Linda who have been a blessing to CS, and who today are both Sales Managers in their respective territory and product. They began at CS in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and commenced their roles as Sales Coordinators. Their ambitious attitude towards their work fostered a desire to gain skills and eventually maneuvered their way into becoming Sales Managers. They both describe their days to be challenging and very busy as they venture into new businesses. Their roles revolve around handling their client’s enquiries, supporting their clients and colleagues in any way possible and continue to break any barriers they face. Plus, with a natural flair for architecture and design it makes it easy to connect with their clients and present solutions to all sorts of detailed design and engineering challenges.
In the customer service team, we have Grace and Josiane; both arrived in Australia only 5 years ago. Starting in a new country facing the challenge of language, since English is not their first language, was the biggest setback in their journey. They both have been in the customer service department for around 2 years and have been a great addition to CS. A typical day for them involves, problem-solving, actioning customers’ requests and following up with clients. Like their fellow colleagues, they have had to overcome many barriers in their way and continue moving forward.
Bill Maloukis, the General Manager of CS, is very proud of the team, “We believe that diversity drives performance, and we embrace everyone’s unique talents and ideas to grow our business”. Some are extroverts, some are introverts, some enjoy wine and cheese nights and some playing tennis. But each of these women bring an attribute that contributes to the great performance that the team needs. As Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox said, ‘Sisters are doing it for themselves’. But most importantly, they are skilled, strong, capable and keen contributors to our company.”