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Last night, we held another successful panel debate at the AluK Design Studio, exploring the impact of gender diversity in the construction industry and what it means for the sector’s bottom line.

Our expert panel, chaired by Sandi Rhys Jones OBE, offered perspectives from all aspects of the industry. Having an all-female panel was an intentional choice, designed to highlight the visibility of women in the sector, and we were pleased to see that the event attracted a diverse audience who engaged enthusiastically with the points being made.

These included blind CVs, which Rachel Skinner from WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff argued lead to a much broader range of candidates during the recruitment process – although it was noted that this could potentially hinder interview preparation.

Teresa Borsuk, Senior Partner at Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects talked about retention in architecture and how a balanced workforce performs much better and generates greater revenue, while Lendlease’s Angela Forbes highlighted the importance of utilising transferable skills.

Jenny Young, Head of Diversity at The Royal Academy of Engineering, focused on company culture and how inclusive leadership can lead to long-term productivity.

The discussion then turned to the gender pay gap, highlighting the often-moving goalposts of salary discussions and having the confidence to ask for a pay rise. The debate also looked at the ‘tipping point’ for women leaving the industry, with the top audience responses including: lack of work development, lack of recognition, and job satisfaction.

One of the crucial factors now contributing to company culture is flexibility. Is a full-time career the only successful career path open to everyone? With technology enabling a more agile approach to work, everyone can benefit from flexible hours and remote working– and millennials increasingly expect a company culture that can accommodate this.

We’re pleased that the debate was a success and we hope everyone left feeling inspired.

Find out more about our upcoming events here and see the latest pictures here.