As part of International Women’s Day, we have been celebrating the women working in professions that are typically male dominated.
Women represent fewer than 50% of leaders in every industry and, in the past ten years, the proportion of female leaders increased by an average of just over 2% across 12 industries studied.
We want these statistics to change.
We’ve been raising money for the Anita White Foundation, a charity that combines academic study with the education and development of women leaders and scholars in sport. The foundation runs projects such as the Women’s Sport Leadership Academy to help develop women leaders of sport around the world.
We have also been looking to those women in our business who are working in typically male dominated roles. As, while we have some amazing women working in teams such as Trades and Finance, we would love to see more!
We spoke to some of our fabulous colleagues about their roles and experiences and hope that their stories might inspire others to believe they can work in any profession too:
Simone Rogers – Window Engineer
My dream job has always been to fix things – if something’s not working, I like to be able to get it working. I love the challenges I face in my job; if I know that it has taken a lot to fix a front door or a window, it’s really satisfying.
I would love to see more women in trades – if you’re capable of doing the job, then do it. I think there are more women coming into male dominated jobs than there used to be, but many still get put off because of the lack of gender balance – but that can change if more of us decide to work in these roles! I think the main challenge women might face or think they will face is feeling ‘accepted’ by the guys and showing that you can do the job just as well as them. But if you know the job, then like me, you’ll find that you end up with trades people coming to you for advice about their own jobs.
Anne Costain – Executive Director of Finance and IT
I was fascinated by the housing sector when I was looking for my next career move and so applied for the job. Finance is really interesting – it’s a great way to understand companies and compare organisations. My role involves me talking to investors, legal advisors, preparing board papers, chatting to staff, looking at how we can engage Radian in important sector issues, including employee diversity – no day is the same!
Working in a male-dominated profession is interesting – many women, including me, sometimes feel that to ‘get on’ in a career, you have to ‘fit in’. But I have come to realise that being yourself is important, and the most successful organisations celebrate and promote diversity. I’d definitely like to see more women working in my profession. There are more women training as accountants than men now, but many don’t return after prioritising family life. We need to promote work sharing at more senior levels and spend time understanding the best way to advertise roles to attract a diverse mix of applications. My best advice is to be yourself. And remember, don’t concentrate on the 20% of the job description you don’t have experience of – the 80% you do is more than enough to excel in your new role. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you’re not expected to know it all!
Rebecca Docking – Grounds Maintenance Operative
I’ve worked in grounds maintenance roles for a long time but have only recently joined Radian. I first started out working in an office, but when it shut, I decided to go out and work in the field. I’ve got my training in chainsaws, brush cutting, strimming and for the ride on mower. I absolutely love my job and find it all a bit of a buzz. I’ve been able to hold down a full-time job, work a 40-hour week and still be able to bring my daughter up on my own – she’s very proud of me.
I have the confidence to know that I’m really good at my job. So even when someone once commented on how they never expected a woman to be able to do such a good job, I just think that I’ve obviously proved them wrong! Any woman can do this job. I’ve proved it in the past. I’ve been stuck out doing some of the dirtiest and the hardest jobs when working for other organisations, some of those were jobs that other people wouldn’t touch, so I know that it’s possible. If I can edge a pavement, use chainsaws and reduce laurel from 15ft to 4ft, anyone else can do the same.
Jasbir Sohal – Gas Servicing and Repairs Manager
I was a gas planner at Radian for four years before my current role came up. I applied, did well at interview and now manage the whole gas department, overseeing around 38 people. I’m proud of my team who have consistently achieved 100% gas servicing for the last 11 months, complaints have dropped by 80% and staff engagement has increased massively across the department.
I think working in a male dominated environment can be tough, but if you believe in what you’re doing you’ll succeed. I would love to see more women in high-up positions, and I would advise any woman wanting to work in this environment to just go for it – know your subject, strive to be the best, never let anyone tell you that you cannot do it and be confident! If you’re unsure one of the best things you can do is ask those already in those environments – most will be more than happy to help!
Sarah Kerr – Planned Works Service Manager
In my nine years here, I’ve progressed from being a Works Scheduler on a temporary contract through to being a Planned Works Service Manager, responsible for the kitchen team. I wanted to progress within Radian and thought my current role would offer a good challenge – to manage a team and also face the extra challenges of face to face dealings with our residents.
Working in a male dominated profession doesn’t bother me, I enjoy it as I have a lot of characters in my team! I have two brothers and three step-brothers so I am used to generally being outnumbered! I would always encourage women to work in similar roles. Not to be afraid of working and managing male colleagues – give it a go and don’t be afraid of the challenge. I believe my team are confident that I am very capable of looking after their work problems as well as being a listening ear for their own personal issues. I have always said the people you work with make it and would class a lot of my work colleagues as good friends.
Abigail Wilson – Service Manager
I’ve worked in a few different roles within Technical Services in my time but I have always found working with the trades and being involved with repairs the most enjoyable. I manage a team of five trades and my job is very responsive, it’s a very busy role and each day brings new challenges.
I’ve been at Radian a long time now and have worked hard to progress, so I would say my biggest achievement is when I got the job as Service Manager. I’m still building my knowledge and intend to start the HNC course this year. Working in a male dominated environment has been a really positive experience for me. I’ve always enjoyed working with the tradesmen and my male colleagues in the office as you come across some real characters and work is always fun. I was worried when I first got my role that the guys may not respect me or treat me differently, but this hasn’t been the case at all. I think they have trust in my ability and feel they can come to me to discuss any issues – work or personal. It’s important to believe in your own abilities. Don’t be afraid of a challenge and push yourself to go for the roles that interest you. At the end of the day, gender doesn’t really come into it. If your right for the job, you can get it!