Just 14% of the construction industry is made up of female professionals, proving the sector is still very much male-dominated for the majority, and more should be done to entice women into housebuilding. In recognition of this year’s International Women’s Day on Monday 8th March, luxury homebuilder Millwood Designer Homes is celebrating the female members of its workforce. Offering an insight into what it is like as a woman in the housebuilding industry, one of Millwood’s female employees, Sophie Marks, offers her advice for women looking to pursue a career in construction.
Sophie, 23, joined Millwood in October 2019 as a receptionist, before being promoted to a Customer Services Administrator. She comments: “After finishing a history degree, I started working for Millwood as a receptionist, before being moved into customer service last year. I love being the first port of call for customers when they need answers to queries; it’s a very personable job, and I’m enjoying doing something I never thought I would be doing when I first joined Millwood! As a receptionist, you don’t necessarily need to know much about the construction industry whereas in this role, I need to be able to respond to homeowners straight away with answers. This has meant I’ve had to learn a lot about the technical process of housebuilding, and that has really sparked my interest in a career in the industry.”
Sophie adds: “I think its great that more women are getting involved in the housebuilding industry, but I definitely think it is still a male dominated sector. I feel that women bring a different way of looking at things, especially to the design process, and they may think of including certain features in a home that are different to a male point of view. A lot of my role is very personable and involves speaking to customers on a daily basis, which is something you don’t necessarily associate with a career in construction. There are so many different pathways into construction and so many different roles within it, you don’t just necessarily have to work on site building the houses.”
Sophie continues: “I think more needs to be done to teach girls that construction is a great career path for both men and women; I went to an all-girls grammar school, and there wasn’t any mention of construction as a potential career. Girls should be encouraged that housebuilding is a really interesting profession with lots of different opportunities; just because typically boys have gone into it, it doesn’t mean that they can’t too. It’s so important in all areas that women get the same opportunities as men, and that girls get told about careers that are typically male-driven. I didn’t even consider going into construction until I got this job, and now I am really interested in it.”
“Millwood is a fantastic company to work for as it has a really diverse workforce, and women are just as respected as men both on site and in the head office – we even have a female project manager, something which is very rare in this industry. I’m really looking forward to growing more with the company and continuing to learn about construction, and the process of building our homes.”
Nick Stonley, Managing Director at Millwood Designer Homes, comments: “International Women’s Day is a brilliant platform to celebrate our female employees, whom we are extremely proud of. Under pressure over the past year, our team, including Sophie, has continued to thrive, and it’s great to see that gradually more women are pursuing a career in housebuilding. Sophie is a fantastic example of a woman that is excelling in a male-dominated sector and is a shining example for young women across the country that you can be successful in whichever career path you choose to take.”
Millwood currently has a range of individually designed homes available across Kent, Sussex and Surrey. For more information, please visit www.millwooddesignerhomes.co.uk.