It may not seem like it, but women have been a figure in the construction industry for much longer than you might think. 1900's? 1800's? Think further. The first woman recorded to take on an active role in a building project was Lady Anne Clifford back in 1590! She was in charge of controlling designs and the building programme for improvements to her Westmorland Estates. In 1701, Lady Elizabeth Wilbraham produced the earliest architectural drawings, rebuilding St Andrews Church in Staffordshire.
Women have been involved in the construction industry for centuries, but why has the involvement of women in construction halted?
When looking at the statistics, it's a bit if a mixed bag. The UK is behind compared to the rest of Europe, having the lowest proportion of female engineers. The number of women in the construction industry has been sitting at around 14% for 20 years now. The slight glimmer of positivity is that there has recently been an increase in women choosing electrical apprenticeships. Should the industry be doing more to encourage women? Is there a misunderstanding of the huge variety of roles and career development available?
Overall, looking at the industry as a whole, we can see attitudes towards women in construction changing and we believe women shouldn't overlook the industry as there as so many great opportunities. A lot of the women who work at James Burrell had never even considered a career in a Builders Merchants, but an opportunity arose and they have continued to progress.
Our HR Manager said "Don't think about it being a male orientated industry. If you are good at your job- it doesn't matter if you are male or female! The most important thing to James Burrell is that you are dedicated, enthusiastic and are ready to play your part in a big team. Be yourself, as no one else can!"
We're pleased to say we currently have 30 women working across our branches in a huge variety of roles from Finance, to HR to Marketing and Sales; many in Senior positions too! A figure we hope to see continuing to rise year on year.