Women in Construction: Breaking Stereotypes and Forging Careers

women in construction breaking stereotypes and forging careers
The construction industry has long been synonymous with male dominance, an emblem of physical prowess, and hard hats against a backdrop of steel and concrete. However, the winds of change are blowing, with women not just entering but also making significant strides in this field. In Australia, women in construction are gradually becoming a norm rather than an exception.
Today, we’ll take a deep dive into the impact women are making in the industry, and talk to three Kelm Hire employees, Sharelle, Lidiany, and Ariane, about their experiences.

Breaking Stereotypes and Building Careers

Historically, the presence of women in construction was an anomaly. However, today, they are breaking stereotypes and steadfastly building their careers, wielding both power tools and leadership roles with adeptness. It’s a transformative era where equipment hire in Melbourne isn’t just a man’s domain; women, too, are at the helm, running operations and leading teams at companies like Kelm Hire.

Sharelle, a hire controller, says ‘I found out a lot of new things about myself, and discovered I was more capable than I previously thought. There are huge opportunities for women in this industry if you just give it a shot!’

Inspiring Women in Construction

Despite women making up around 12% of the construction workforce in Australia, their influence is burgeoning. Women in the Australian construction industry exemplify strength, skill, and determination. They are project managers, engineers, construction workers, and, more importantly, role models inspiring a new generation to look beyond traditional gender roles.
Lidiany says she’s lucky to have been inspired by other women in the industry; ‘There are lots of very powerful women in construction as well who can inspire you and inspire more women to join.

Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Success

The construction industry has more commonly been a career aspiration for men. The path for women to enter has been less clear-cut. However, with companies such as Kelm-Hire and the women currently working in the field, we are seeing a positive shift in the industry. Women in construction and the women at Kelm-Hire are now paving the way for future aspiring female workers and normalising women in the industry.
This spirit of leadership, perseverance and determination is exemplified in Ariane’s journey. ‘My first company was 90% men, which felt very strange. I just took the challenge and dealt with things my own way – don’t be afraid to do things your own way too!’
Sharelle added some more words of encouragement too; ‘Take a leap of faith in yourself! Remember that you have a skill that men don’t have, keep this in mind and let it empower you!

Why More Women Should Consider a Career in Construction

Construction is not just about physical labour; it’s about creativity, problem-solving, and project management. With a growing focus on gender diversity in the workplace, the construction industry is rife with opportunities for women. A career in construction offers a chance to leave a tangible legacy, achieve financial independence, and shatter glass ceilings, brick by brick.

Programs like the HRIA Women in Hire and Young Professionals Development Program are becoming more widespread, attracting talent from around Australia and giving women a pathway to develop skills and gain confidence to flourish in the industry.

The Struggles of Women in Construction

Despite the increasing numbers, women in the construction industry often contend with outdated perceptions and biases.
While things are improving, there’s still a way to go. Lidiany, a finance manager, said she’d like to see more flexibility for women to allow for maternity leave, and the flexibility required for people to manage the needs of their family and career, a delicate balancing act. ‘I’ve known a lot of women who’ve gone on maternity leave and come back to a different situation. I’d like to see more policies in support of women returning to work to make sure that women have a guaranteed equal opportunity of getting or securing a job as a man would.’
Kelm Hire’s recruitment and workplace policies include a strong focus on creating a flexible and supportive environment, aimed at helping our team members feel empowered to balance their work with caring for their families.

Why Women Should Consider Joining the Field

The construction industry offers women the opportunity to be at the forefront of building the future, whether that’s through physical craftsmanship or strategic planning.

The narrative of women in construction is being rewritten. No longer confined to the margins, women are central to the tapestry of this industry, bringing diversity of thought, leadership, and skill. In embracing this shift, companies like Kelm Hire are not just providing equipment hire in Melbourne; they’re equipping a movement.

Kelm is leading the charge in this movement, bringing a recruiting strategy designed to create and source inclusive roles based on ability, experience, and effort. Kelm understands that diversity in the team brings different skill sets, abilities, and methods of problem solving, so actively seeks to promote it through a range of inclusive hiring initiatives.

In May of this year, the Australian Constructors Association made a bold commitment to radically shift the culture of the industry, setting ambitious goals for gender equality and flexibility. ACA CEO Jon Davies noted that the construction industry is the most male-dominated in the country, so their first target is gender equality, diversity, and inclusion, with the second being workplace flexibility. Such reforms are signs of an industry-wide shift towards greater gender equality and diversity.

Women are not just joining construction; they are transforming it, proving that the industry is not about gender but about talent, drive, and the audacious belief that anyone can build, create, and lead.
While women are transforming the industry, it’s having an effect on them too. Sharelle says she ‘Feels like I’ve changed a lot as a person in this job and being part of this team – it’s become like a family.’
As this sector continues to evolve, it is paramount that the momentum is not only maintained but accelerated, ensuring women not only forge careers but also shape the future of construction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Women in construction face obstacles such as gender bias the rewards include career advancement, high earning potential, and the satisfaction of overcoming societal expectations.
Through perseverance, networking, advocating for inclusive policies, and seeking mentorship, women can build resilient careers in construction, dismantling stereotypes along their path.
Equip yourself with education, seek out mentors, embrace the myriad roles from construction worker to management, and look for supportive networks and companies that value gender diversity.