International Women’s Day 2021 served as a reminder of the broader underlying message that should be part of our mindset – any form of discrimination is unacceptable.
Attitudes are changing faster in developed countries, but education and commitment from governments and businesses alike are fundamental if we are to establish a truly diverse global economy and a fairer society.
We are celebrating our own journey as a gender balanced consultancy practice.
APS Consultancy provides construction project management, cost consultancy and building consultancy services across the UK, and further afield where clients want to rely on our integrity for corporate governance. In a traditionally male dominated industry, we are proud of being a gender balanced business. Currently, women slightly outnumber men in the workforce and the management team has a 50:50 female to male ratio.
The company was founded 27 years ago, at a time when there were far fewer women in the industry. Over the years the firm has grown, diversified and has always employed female professional staff based on their ability rather than gender. We appointed our first female Director 17 years ago, and when APS expanded their service offering to cost consultancy in 2012 the stand-out candidate for leading the team was female; Natasha Rantle. Christina Stoltz joined us this year as the Divisional Director of the project management team.
We are proud of the fact that our PM, QS and BS teams consist of men and women who are all extraordinarily good at what they do and bring their authentic self to work. The key to our continued success will be to maintain the quality of our staff, regardless of gender, faith, ethnicity, age, etc., so we create a friendly and inclusive, yet highly professional and efficient working environment for staff, clients and consultants alike.
By contrast, the female ratio in the wider construction industry is still very low (averaging 10% across Europe), and this needs to be addressed on a global basis. It starts by working against any gender stereotyping at home or in schools, and it is important to support and encourage young women to realise the career opportunities they have in the construction sector.
Appointments such as Katrina Kostic Samen as BCO President in 2018, Christina Stoltz as the first female President of the International Construction Project Management Association in 2019 and Kath Fontana as The President of the RICS in 2020 are helping to create role models for future generations, and slowly changing the landscaping of our industry.
The BCO conference in 2018 in Berlin focused on diversity, inclusion and the fact that there is still a lot of work to be done. The BCO President Katrina Kostic Samen highlighted the issue as follows:
“The BCO Annual Conference 2018 in Berlin focused on a key issue – how to design and build workplaces which are inclusive for a diverse workforce. I challenged delegates to redefine the BCO to mean ‘Building Communities for Occupiers’ – to move away from thinking in old fashioned terms about creating a building, and instead shift to a more diverse and inclusive world where the role of placemaking is central. I will continue to extend this challenge to the BCO membership throughout my presidency.
I will also work to make the BCO itself a more diverse organisation. 21% of this year’s conference delegates were female; a significant increase on previous years, and reduced-cost tickets saw 81 NextGen delegates attend. Throughout the rest of my presidential year I will look to build on this success, and to support and mentor our female and NextGen membership in particular.”
Finally, we asked our staff to offer their thoughts on diversity:
“It’s great to be celebrating International Women’s Day. It is fantastic to see so many women working in the construction industry and learning that there are great opportunities for all. I am currently working on a project with a female Contract Administrator, Architect and Services Engineer all reporting to a female client. This would have been unheard of when I started my career 25 years ago. Long may it continue.” Irene Bass, Associate Director
“APS is a collaborative, broad minded and diverse-thinking working environment, which benefits both those who work there and those for whom we work.” Conor O’Byrne, Director
“Working at APS allows me to have a truer sense of myself and, therefore, greater confidence, so I can be more focused on my projects and can get the job done as effectively as possible.” Helen Shreeve, Associate Director