Woollam Construction Challenges Gender Stereotypes

September 7, 2017

Woollam construction is recognised as a leader in the commercial construction industry, and now they will be seen as a pioneer for breaking down the glass ceiling.

Today in Australian construction, only 11 percent of women are recruited for roles. With Woollam’s female support programs and undergraduate opportunities, Woollam’s numbers are far above the 11 percent average.

Construction Estimating Manager, Emma Hill has said “Our goal is to ensure that all women at Woollam are fully supported, inspired, included, and educated on their career paths, and not subject to any conscious or unconscious gender bias”.

Woollam is incorporating programs into their organisational structure which are developed to support the women in the industry. Through the creation of a “buddy system”, the company has allowed the women at Woollam to gain experience from other roles in the company.

Woollam has created a supportive environment within their industry which also allows for open conversation about any challenges or issued faced, such as the issue of stereotypes. Within the construction industry there is a societal norm that it is a male dominated culture,
which Woollam is striving to change. Hill says the business culture at Woollam has always been inclusive.

Through their growth, Woollam has also taken on undergraduate building “cadets”, Hill stated “female cadets are naturally more organised and have a stronger attention to detail, which generally sees them perform stronger in many areas,”. They have recently had a
female graduate cadet hired for a quantity surveyor role, since then she has moved on to a project management position in New York.

In order for Woollam to ensure that they keep up with their standards, Woollam have joined the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). The NAWIC’s mission is to empower women in the construction and other related industries, and provide services for women who wish to move forward in their professional careers.

Hill was the only female in most of her classes when studying and she encourages other women wishing to study in the industry to “work hard and back your abilities – confidence and knowledge are key. As women in a male dominated industry, you need to speak up and
make your voice heard. Get out there and give it ago”.

1 Comment on Woollam Construction Challenges Gender Stereotypes

  1. I think mentoring is important and a great way to learn on the job. This is particularly important in construction which is a male dominated industry and it is great to see Emma Hill reach high levels within her company. I wonder what can be done to support female students too when they enrol in male dominated courses such as building construction. Emma Hill said she was often the only female in classes. Some support might have been helpful back then too.

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