I recently sat down with Eyrus CEO Alex McManus and discussed the importance of Women in Construction, and Women in Technology. As a woman who has been in the construction industry her whole career, now serving the industry through technology, she has a unique understanding of the impact of women in industries where flexibility, collaboration is key.
KL: What do you love about the construction industry?
AM: I love buildings and infrastructure. I love that we can collaborate from an idea to a drawing to a physical tangible monument to that effort. I have always felt proud to be a part of the end product.
KL: Given your experience in the Construction industry, where do you see that women have had the most impact? And conversely, the least amount of impact?
AM: I believe women have had the most impact in the construction workflow process, and contracting. With the least amount of impact in Construction Project Management, and trade crafts. Changes are coming in those realms, but historically have typically been not as impacted by women.
KL: How do you see technology impacting the advancement of women in the construction industry?
AM: Technology can become an equalizer. Successful projects are often run by individuals, usually men with many years of experience. Construction data that flows to and from worksites that increases knowledge on schedule, construction worker safety, progress, and compliance can provide insight that was previously only understood after 20 years of experience. Further, I think working in a technology company is a great avenue for women to have more involvement in the industry because it embraces different skill sets such as coding, data analysis, sales, and marketing.
”Construction is the result of collaboration and I think it is inevitable that it will continue to be more inclusive."
Alexandra McManusCEO, Eyrus
KL: What are some of the ways you see that women can overcome bias in an industry that was “designed for men”? Where have you seen this bias and gender gap being closed? Any examples where you’ve seen success with overcoming bias?
AM: Bias shows up in many different ways from individual to institutional, and direct and indirect. I have found that in this industry you have to be direct, firm and persistent, even more so if you are a woman and you want to be heard. I have started to see a lot more women in the trailers at construction worksites. I do think as more women enter the industry the culture will shift.
KL: How can current and future generations help change the stigma of the construction industry to be more inclusive of women?
AM: Women have and do demonstrate that we can more than adequately build. They will open the door for more women and the more recent generations of men have a much more collaborative view of who they are working with. Construction is the result of collaboration and I think it is inevitable that it will continue to be more inclusive.
Flexibility is also a key component of growing the industry to be more inclusive. With wanting more women in the workforce, comes with the respect for the responsibilities that women carry from a day to day basis. Whether that be as a partner, caregiver, or parent, the industry has to take into consideration flexibility of work hours, locations and abilities. The pandemic helped us as a collective realize that work can continue to be done when we are not in person, and we can still collaborate outside the office environment. Giving all employees the flexibility to make the environment that works for their needs brings success at a personal, professional and corporate level.
KL: What can other CEO’s like yourself do to help further inclusivity and diversity in construction and technology?
AM: Female leadership needs to make themselves visible as examples of where the industry is going. Getting more women involved earlier in their education and careers in STEM, and advocating for those types of hard science educations serves as a benefit to the industry. Bringing excitement, and the practical, and analytical thinking that women bring to the table through engineering, sciences, mathematics and technology proves as a vast opportunity for women to excel in their careers in construction and technology.
We need to continue to make fields like Engineering more accommodating to women, and seen as a more accepted place for analytical female minds. In a 2019 research update by SWE, 30% of women were leaving engineering fields due to the organizational climate1. This breathes into life why the industry should focus on continuing to change organizational behavior and bias towards historical ways of working.
At Eyrus, we are focused on having a balanced workforce inclusive of women in key roles. I love having women on our team in leadership roles and working directly with our construction clients. We purposely provide visibility of our team to executives in construction firms.
From those in the field, to those in the board rooms, women play a pivotal role in pushing construction forward, and through industry collaboration we will continue to build to new heights.
Kalyn Lengieza, Director of Marketing
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