Three employees at Nottingham-based Barratt and David Wilson Homes North Midlands are highlighting their experiences with diversity in the workplace for International Women’s Day (8th March).
This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is #EmbraceEquity. Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that in quarter four of 2022, 2,171,000 people in the UK worked in construction. Out of those people, just 321,000, 14.7% were women.
Dawn Mellors joined the developer’s customer care team on a youth training programme in 1990, and today works as personal assistant to the company’s Sales Director, accumulating 33 years in the industry.
Dawn (50) said: “Back in the 1990s, the industry was very male orientated. There were no females on site or in high profile roles. Today is very different and females are encouraged to join our industry.
“It’s important to have a wide variety of people in every industry, and Barratt and David Wilson Homes in particular is a diverse company where all genders and ethnicities are treated fairly with dignity and respect.
“There are great opportunities available to all in the company, with the recent enhancement of the maternity policy and menopause resources being a welcome change specifically for women in the industry.
“Career development is encouraged with training resource to support, and the company provides regular webinars to help us understand and consider those who need additional assistance.”
Jess Beasley – who joined Barratt and David Wilson Homes in December 2018 as a Marketing Co-ordinator – has quickly risen through the ranks and now heads up the developer’s marketing team.
She was promoted twice in 2022, becoming Marketing Executive in January 2022 and, just six months later, achieving her current role as the company’s Marketing Manager.
Jess (28) said: “Barratt and David Wilson Homes is a huge company with a great reputation amongst both employees and customers. The company ethos is that the greatest assets are the employees and, to be the best, you have to have the best talent, keep them, look after them and support their career goals. It does this in abundance.
“The industry is still predominantly male-dominated on site, but more females are now learning trades, and at North Midlands specifically, we’ve had female assistant site managers for years now.
“The office has more and more female leaders; we have a mix of male and female directors who run fantastic teams, as well as managers and other women who are eager to progress their careers. It’s great to see!
“Barratt and David Wilson Homes has had procedures in place for some time to support equity amongst employees. I think that they’ve been ahead of this for a while and understand that not everyone has the same situation, home life or personal attributes.
“There is also a fantastic Mental Health First Aider program with regular training and enhanced technology for the trainees to access to further support employees. Regular development reviews are also held with employees and managers to discuss one-on-one where we envision our careers going and talk about any opportunities, or issues we have.”
Esélle Lane-Smith joined the developer in 2015 as a Cost Clerk, and she now leads a team of account clerks for the developer as Purchase Ledger Supervisor.
Esélle (33) has noticed a shift in diversity over the period of time she has worked for the developer.
She said: “As new generations are coming to working age and breaking through the societal norms, I can definitely see a change.
“In my eight years at the company, I have seen more historically male dominated roles such as quantity surveying, land managers and site management now being filled with more women with in those roles; but I hope in my career I get to see more site-based roles include even more diversity.
“With a diverse range of people working in an industry, you are able to see different perspectives from all points of view; not only from a gender perspective, but also with different ethnicities and abilities.
“In housebuilding, the benefits of diversity within the company can help employees to further understand their customers and the communities that surround our new homes too, by interacting with a wide range of people on a day-to-day basis.”
When asked what advice the employees would give to women joining the construction industry, Esélle said: “Advocate for yourself and your needs. You should never feel shame for asking for what you need. You do not need to make yourself small in order to fit in and you are worthy of taking up space.”
Dawn said: “There are no boundaries to what can be achieved as long as you join with the right attitude.”
Jess added: “Be confident and don’t be afraid to push yourself – there’s a lot of great companies with fantastic people who will support you with whatever path you choose to take.”
For more information about the career opportunities available at Barratt and David Wilson Homes, visit www.barrattcareers.co.uk.