Highlighting success

As part of Women in Construction Week and National Careers Week, we chatted with a number of women across the business to get a better understanding of how their careers have progressed with us and whether they believe Ian Williams, and the wider construction industry, to be a good place for women. They also share their keys to their success in the hope of inspiring other women to join our sector. 

Here’s what they said:

Jayne Cox – Financial Controller.  Joined IW 2008.

“Construction has always been a very male orientated industry. There are many more women working in construction now but sometimes it can take a while for perceptions to catch up.  The more women we see, the more women will feel that it is an industry we can be a part of.

“Don’t let your own assumptions hold you back. Don’t assume you can’t be a Foreperson, Contracts Manager, Business Manager, General Manager, Operations Director, Managing Director because you’re a woman and there are fewer women in Ian Williams. At times, I haven’t been able to see career progression, and then I’ve been offered something that I never expected.

“One of the great things about this business is that if there’s a great person, we try to keep them in whatever way. If you want to try something, we’re open to letting you try. You have to give people the opportunity. If somebody else has a great idea, we listen.

“A great example of the kind of support you get, is Ian Williams paid for me to do a course on presenting, not only that, but senior leaders gave me their time so I could practise with them to help build my confidence.”

Amy Boothman – Sales & Marketing Director.  Joined IW 2010.

“Over 80% of our work takes place in social housing, which has a high proportion of females.  Seeing women driving change and growth, makes other women believe they can do that too – which they can.

“I think there is a lot more visibility of women, especially with myself and Jayne as Directors for the first time in Ian Williams’ history.  I want us to be the type of company that, when you put yourself forward and say ‘I want to be challenged’, we do. We recruit people, not careers.

“It’s about giving (people) the opportunity to try something else.  If you’ve got the skills you can transfer, put yourself forward and get stuck in.  Tell people – don’t wait for it to come to you.

“Times have really changed, for the better!  We’ve got people from the iwhub and RLOs becoming Trainee Surveyors.  There are lots of senior women who’ve had kids and their career has continued to progress and part time, condensed and flexible hours are no longer considered a negative thing.

“You need different voices to come to the best conclusion – you need diversity to get all angles. Don’t think you have to be a certain type of person, as whatever you bring to the table matters. Don’t ever think you’re not good enough.  If you need confidence, find yourself a female mentor in the industry, as there are lots of willing mentors out there. You can do it – do what makes you happy and you will succeed.”

Jayne Cox & Amy Boothman

Katrina O’Grady – Trainee Surveyor. Joined IW 2004.

“Throughout my time at Ian Williams I have worked in a variety of roles, starting 20 years ago as a Tenant Liaison Officer, as well as other roles including Commercial Assistant, Contract Coordinator, RLO Coordinator to my current role as Trainee Surveyor.

“People saw things in me and understood I didn’t really have the confidence to do it myself.  They encouraged and supported me all along and they were key to pushing me to believe in myself.

“I was very lucky. I felt supported (after returning from maternity leave) and still felt part of the business. There was never any doubt about what comes first.  Seeing other women in senior positions now is inspiring – you think wow, it’s not just a male dominated place anymore. The people around me have said YOU CAN DO IT!  They placed trust in me, and I delivered.

“Your opinion and your input count, so don’t be afraid to give it.  Believe in yourself.  You don’t necessarily have to be technical – listening to people and understanding people’s needs is just as important.  Develop strong allies and mentors and support those around you.

Katrina O’Grady

Sacha Newman – Painter. Joined IW 1994.

“I started as a Painter almost 30 years ago and I’ve always been treated really well. I went part time when I had my children and there was never any issue with that.  I feel I’ve been given the same opportunities as the men.

“Ian Williams has been really good in allowing me to choose my hours in order for me to get the most effective work/life balance.”

Samantha Oakley – Surveyor.  Joined IW 2018.

“As a woman in construction, the opportunities at Ian Williams are not limited.  They are there if you’re willing to put yourself forward.  Women are just as capable and the fact that we’ve got female directors shows how much we have progressed and there are no limits to what we (women) can achieve.”

“I started as a Trainee Surveyor.  Lots of women who have worked their way up – they are there to show that the opportunities are there if you’re willing to put yourself forward.”

Maxine Saffery – Business Manager for Birmingham Response. Joined IW 2022.

“In terms of the behaviours, Ian Williams is 100% committed to delivering on what they say. Everyone’s individuality is valued – we’re all completely different and that’s what makes it work. 

“There is a genuine care, so you should never be afraid to use your voice and speak your mind because it will be listened to.”

Ian Williams currently has vacancies across the UK for a variety of roles. We urge you to get in touch and continue your career journey with Ian Williams: https://www.ianwilliams.co.uk/careers/

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