During Women in Construction Week, we wanted to interview an inspirational woman and highlight the important role women play in the Construction industry. We have previously partnered with Judith, Group People Director from M&J Evans, and wanted to interview her regarding her experience within the Construction industry. This interview also coincided with International Women’s Day, of which the theme for International Women’s days this year is #BreaktheBias, which is perfect with Construction being such a male-dominated industry, and women like Judith breaking that gender bias. We asked Judith…
You have had a career in various sectors. What attracted you to move into the Construction industry?
“Traditionally this has always been a really tough environment for women to get into, not least because it is male-dominated and somewhat traditional in its ways of working. The attraction for me was around what I could do to influence the mindset changes of those working within it, how we could bring about change and innovation and what we could to improve on the diversity of the people we employ in key roles. This is really important to M&J Evans. We recognise that we have some work to do, but by helping the management teams think differently about who and how we recruit and retain their people, we will be better placed to fully reflect the society we serve, which will make us better placed to deliver the most innovative infrastructure for our customers. There is a lot of work to be done but that is what makes it so much more exciting.
When did you move into the construction industry? Have you seen a change in construction since you started?
“I moved to the sector 7 months ago and I have seen some subtle changes, but it is early days. When I joined M&J Evans, part of my role was to help people to understand why it was important for me to be here.”
What do you enjoy most about working within the construction industry?
“What I love about the industry and the company I work for is the pride and passion the people show for the work they deliver. Where I can truly add value is around employee development, leadership and management training and supporting our people to enhance their careers.
I laugh when I say this, but If you look at my career history, I never would have thought I could be so interested in foundations and roads & sewers, but when you really understand what our people deliver for our customers, it is pretty impressive and you can’t help but be proud of the quality of work we produce”
What do you find is the biggest challenge working within the construction industry?
“There are a few challenges, but one of the biggest is around attracting candidates because the salaries within the construction market are continuing to rise. There is a shortage of skilled people within the industry, so you have got to be prepared to pay over the odds if you want to attract. What is also a challenge, as it will be for many businesses at the moment, is that people want more from their employer. Flexibility and benefits are just two examples of what has historically not been offered within the industry. It is a tough market, but we recognise that we have to do something different if we want to attract and retain the right people”
What advice would you give other women looking to join the construction industry?
“It is a really interesting industry to work in, even though it has it’s challenges, but you will find it so rewarding. The construction workforce is evolving in many positive ways and there is some acceptance to change. There will always be challenges around diversity within this industry, but at some point, there has to be a shift. If there are any women considering a career in construction, get in touch. It would be great to hear from them”
Over your career you’ve accomplished a lot, tell us about some of your successes?
“I have had a really interesting and varied career when it comes to industries. I am really fortunate to have worked with some incredible people over the past 22 years and have learnt so much from so many different leaders. Some of my biggest successes have been through the development of my own teams. Growing your own talent and seeing them progress onto bigger and better careers has to be one of the major successes. I genuinely believe that my success is based on the success of my team. Without them, I would not have had my own career success. And for that, I will always be grateful”
What’s next for you in your career?
“Well, I have a lot of work to do here at M&J Evans. We are going through a huge transformation program, which is really exciting. This will certainly keep me busy for some time!”
We’d like to thank Judith for her participation in this interview.
Make sure to connect with Group People Director, Judith Marriott on LinkedIn here