Construction industry

When we think of the construction industry we think of burly men in hi-vis yellow and blue tops with blue slacks. We certainly don’t think of women. That’s changing however with more and more women joining the construction industry however a study from UNSW has found that women only account for 17% of the workforce.

Warehouse

There are efforts to increase diversity within the construction industry with experts saying that a diverse workforce improves wellbeing. Unfortunately, though there are still barriers to women joining the hospitality industry. That’s despite businesses with a more diverse workforce outperforming those that don’t promote diversity.  Businesses that have a diverse workforce better reflect the communities in which they operate so they are better able to service the needs of their clients and provide solutions that suit them. 

The main barrier to women entering construction is the industry’s reputation. Currently, construction is seen as a man’s industry and women are discouraged from joining because of the perceived gender imbalance. With that gender imbalance comes a view that the culture isn’t supportive of women and that they won’t fit into the culture. They’re afraid that they might be subjected to sexism or treated unfairly by their male counterparts.  

All industries have their cliques and circles. Typically business owners prefer to hire staff who have worked together before so if you’re new to the construction industry it’s going to be hard for you to find your way in. 

Construction

In addition, construction industry workers face poorer mental health outcomes with high rates of suicide. This might be attributed to high pressure and a poor work-life balance. A workalike balance where you can still maintain your social, family, and personal commitments outside of work is vital for one’s wellbeing. Few companies offer employee benefits such as paid parental leave and are casual, so if you need security, the construction industry is tough. Targets have been set in these areas however so in time it looks like the situation may improve.

What many women may not know is that a career in the construction industry doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be on the ground building. You might work in compliance, risk assessment, marketing, business planning, architecture, or finance. There are so many options available to work in an industry that is ever-growing and evolving. 

Government and industry are working together to encourage women to enter the sector so they’ve developed an initiative where they promote the construction industry to school-aged children and highlight the many benefits, one of which is that you get to play a part in a city’s ever-changing skyline. They’re also committed to promoting education and training throughout the ages.

The good news though is that these marketing plans to drive an increase in the number of women in the industry are working. At least that’s the case in the USA with more women working in the industry. Before they start though they are warned that things will be difficult for them and they may struggle. The future is also bright with more and more women in the classroom to learn about the construction industry. That means that although there is a stark contrast between the number of men and women, it may soon balance out.

Despite all the negative opinions about the construction industry and women being discouraged from joining, some women actually like working In the construction industry for a number of reasons.

Construction

Although fewer than 20% of the construction industry workforce is women, there are many reasons why women should join the industry. The major one is related to the gender pay gap. Women in the construction industry earn more than those in other industries.  The average hourly rate is around $26 per hour however when you consider overtime and penalty rates it can be substantially more, giving women a chance to financially catch up to men. 

Generally speaking, although the work can sometimes be casual, the hours are longer than in industries such as hospitality and retail so if you’re called up for a specific number of hours, you’re likely to work those hours. That gives you the security that other industries cannot offer. Some women say that the pay rates in the construction industry are excellent and that the pay gap simply does not exist, so if you work in the industry you will be treated equally with your male counterparts. 

Construction has previously been viewed as an industry for men, however, that is changing with more women joining the industry than ever before. That means you will be working in an industry that is closer and closer to gender equality every day. When more women join the construction industry the culture improves because it greater reflects everyday Australian society and that means fresh perspectives are offered.

Not all construction industry jobs are on the frontline. There are a lot of jobs within sales, project management, and construction managers so there are a huge amount of opportunities for you to advance and progress in your career. Even if you’re working in the office, just knowing that the construction industry is attracting women could end up appealing to other women, increasing the percentage of women in the industry overall.

Many women who now work in the industry came from different backgrounds and say they fell into the industry.

One such woman had previously been working in the law industry and then became a recruiter for the construction industry before making a transition into quantity surveying.  She has said she enjoys the industry and doesn’t regret making the switch. 

Construction

Another was attracted to civil engineering because she enjoyed problem-solving, maths, and design aspects. When she finished her engineering degree she gained a job as an assistant engineer with a construction company. For her and others it is a very rewarding career because you literally get to see your work stand the test of time and you get to see it on your city’s skyline. Rather than an intangible result, there is a concrete result that’s been made possible because of teamwork.

Other women employed in the industry would give the following advice to those considering a construction industry career.  The biggest piece of advice one woman gives is that although the face of the construction industry is changing, there may still be times when you’re the only woman attending a training session and that you should be aware of that because the more traditional members of the construction industry may doubt whether or not a woman is skilled enough for the role. Others suggest that if this is the case then you shouldn’t be intimidated and you should ask questions and participate in discussions when you want to and feel you have something valuable to offer.

The construction industry is currently evolving and there are so many training opportunities. With more women joining than ever before there has never been a better time to consider a career in the industry.

 

Written by Libby Shaw

fembuiz.com.au

We’ve heard that opportunities in rural communities are limited, however with technological advancements, and changes in traditional gender roles things are changing. There are more opportunities than ever for women in rural communities. So what exactly are these opportunities?

Here at Fembuiz we want to encourage women to take control of their futures and to be the best they possibly can be. Over the last couple of years we’ve found that you want that as well.

Vet

Women are capable of extraordinary things

Living in a small town or rural community doesn’t have to mean that your career suffers like it might have in the future. Instead, with the internet you can create your own opportunities.

So what opportunities can you create? Well, businesses these days want to cut costs and they’re aware that people want flexible working conditions. To that end, why pay excessive rents when your workforce only uses them for around 40 hours a week when you could hire someone to work remotely and pay them for the work they do? That’s where those in remote communities come in.  You can offer your services – accounting, admin, writing, marketing, legal or even teaching services remotely. Simply advertise on a sharing economy website, or create your own website and you’re ready to go. Just wait for the calls to come in.  Hundreds of people are already doing this and servicing the needs of clients in other cities, states or even countries.

With the internet, geography doesn’t matter like it previously did; and it’s great for mothers with small children who want to remain in the workforce while they raise their little one. You can work at your own pace, draw an income and retain skills that match the current job market.

That puts you in an excellent position if you ever move to a larger town or want to return to the traditional workforce.

You don’t need to be a business owner in a rural community though. Although there’s still a long way to go, large mining companies such as BHP Billiton are committed to gender equality and more and more women are joining the mining sector. There’s still a long way to go. Only 16.1% of all employees in the mining industry are women however that number is increasing, so if you’re thinking you’d like to work outdoors and get your hands dirty there’s never been a better time to join the industry then NOW, plus, on a more personal level.  While earning more money than you would in other industries. The gender pay gap is 7% lower than in other industries across Australia so that should make it an attractive proposition.

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.

One miner, Cat Simmons has been in the sector for eight years and she says she’s been supported throughout her career where she started as a truck driver and now works as an analyst and improvement specialist.

If mining or starting your own business isn’t for you then there are other opportunities in rural communities such as managing a farm, working in retail or one of the many other essential services such as healthcare that are needed to keep small communities thriving.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter where you live. You could live in a big city and find that there aren’t many opportunities, or you could live in a small city and discover the possibilities are endless. It’s not where you live but rather how you live and what you do with your surroundings that makes the difference.

 

Created by Libby Shaw.

 

Fembuiz DirectoryFemales that mean Business

Country Lady's

Living in a rural community can be fantastic. You have peace and quiet and can move at your own pace without being worried about slowing the people around you down. If you’re a parent it brings with it wonderful opportunities for your children. There are plenty of wide open spaces so they can spend more time outside riding their bikes, playing sports or simply getting some much needed fresh air.

Cheerful young woman agriculture engineer.

People in rural communities tend to have a greater sense of exactly that, community. When you live in the city it’s a foreign concept that you’d knock on your neighbour’s door and become friends with them. Why would you when there are thousands of other people you can contact through work, clubs, sports or simply buying your morning coffee?

Small town folk approach things differently. Think of a small town like a club or a school. When you go to a club or school everyone somehow knows everyone and is friends with everyone. Because there are fewer people to gel with, they tend to communicate with each other better. That means if you’re in a small town you’ll think nothing of going to your neighbour’s house and knocking on their door during the day or early evening unannounced. Often people in small towns welcome the company because it’s so hard to come by.

Due to that constant interaction with the same people day in day out, they become very close with each other, so if you’re in a farming community the farmers (typically men, although more and more, women are getting into farming and agriculture) would socialise while the farmers’ wives would congregate over coffee or snacks in the house (although that is changing with women taking on farming responsibilities themselves) and then their children would become friends with each other. It becomes a very close knit community where everyone looks out for each other, so if you’re in trouble your neighbours will help you.

Of course, unfortunately there are drawbacks to living in small communities.

Where do your teenagers gain work experience? Generally if you live in a rural community, employment opportunities are limited, however there are still options available. If you live in a mining town then you could contact the local office of the mining company to see if they have any vacancies for teenagers during the school holidays.  That may be difficult though because generally speaking, the mines are run by large companies which have a strict recruitment process in place.

Adorable toddler boy having fun in a wheelbarrow being pushed by mum.

If you’re in a farming community it’s easier because most farms are owner operated and if you’re part of a close knit community then the chances are that the farm owner will give your son or daughter a go, even if only as a favour to you. Then after a while they’ll have proven themselves and that will help them with their next opportunity in the town or in another area if they choose to leave when they’ve completed their HSC.

Other common opportunities for teenagers or even adults in rural communities are retail, administration for a local farming business or fruit picking.

That’s how it used to be anyway. With advancements in technology it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Look out for part B of our work opportunities in rural communities blog post, which will discuss options available for women in remote areas and why it’s important that women in remote areas work.

If you are running your own business out in the country we would love to know more about you and your business listed in this directory.

By Libby Shaw. Part 1, look out for part 2.

 

Fembuiz DirectoryFemales that mean Business

NSW Fire

Traditionally when we think of firefighting, we think of firemen in their uniforms. We often sexualise them and see them as objects of affection. Many women spend their time fantasising about what it would be like to be with a fireman. They, like Samantha from Sex and the City imagine that it’s all about climbing down the firemen’s pole as she famously did in the first episode of season 3, however the reality is more like a later scene when she quickly had to change out of the fireman’s uniform leaving her naked while the firemen went and extinguished the fires.

Although Sex and the City painted the firefighting profession as glamorous, the reality is much different as Australian firefighters would know. One such firefighter is Kat Robinson Williams who has attracted controversy because she’s fighting fires while pregnant. She’s confidently responded by saying that she’s a firefighter and that she’s a woman but that she doesn’t care if people don’t like what she’s doing. Her concern is that the state of NSW is up in flames. Rather than focusing on her being pregnant, shouldn’t we be commending her for being willing to step up and help the state when it’s in need? Why should gender even factor into the equation?

What a lot of people don’t realise is that firefighters are given extensive training so it doesn’t actually matter what gender you are.

The NSW RFS website features an information booklet which contains all you need to know about becoming a volunteer firefighter. It has five key areas:

  1. Foundation
  2. Technical
  3. Supervision
  4. Command
  5. Strategic.

Each of the areas focuses on ensuring that firefighters have the tools necessary to fight fires and make an ever lasting impact for our country.   

At the foundation level, you’ll learn all there is to know about the ground work.

The technical level will see you become qualified so that you can extinguish fires with or without supervision.

When you study supervision you’ll learn how to lead other volunteer firefighters.

More senior is the command level where you’ll develop the skills to lead entire crews on the ground so they can perform firefighting duties effectively.

For those who’d rather look at strategy, the Strategic level is ideal and will teach you how to develop strategies and plans to manage firefighting activities.

All levels will see you learn the theory before you put it into practice and get to work on the ground.

We need more female fire fighters across Australia

So what exactly is firefighting like for a woman?

Despite gender equality and women having higher workforce participation rates, the rate of women firefighters is extremely low. In Victoria, only 80 of 2000 CFA members are women. Although it’s changing it’s still got a long way to go. The women receive the exact same training as the men and work just as hard.

46 year old, Melbourne Water firefighting crew leader and operations officer Renelle Verkes recounts how the force was much different to when she first joined. When she first joined it was uncommon to see women in the CFA because of the bloke perception and any women who were involved would be doing the administration or making the firemen sandwiches, whereas now they’re out in the field putting out blaze.

There are however all female firefighting crews in some areas of the US including Brockton Massachusetts and believe they set a great example of whats possible.

If you’re interested in joining any of Australia’s volunteer fire services head along to one of these links:

NSW – Rural Fire Service

Victoria – Country Fire Authority

SA – Country Fire Service

Tasmania – Tasmania Fire Service

WA – Department of Fire and Emergency Services

ACT – Rural Fire Service

NT – Fire and Rescue Services

 

Come Join a crew, Australia needs YOU. 

 

Written by Libby Shaw.

Edited and Supported by Rebecca Bennett, Founder of Fembuiz Directory.

 

Rebecca Bennett – Greater Hope Downs & West Angelas Emergency Response – Rio Tinto

fembuiz.com.au
A place where you can support the women of Australia

Being self-employed has so many advantages; you can run things your way and be in charge of all the major decisions. It’s empowering, it’s a huge sense of achievement and most of the time it’s great to be the boss.

You have poured blood, sweat, tears, stress and a vast amount of hours into building up your business – but what do you do about taking time off throughout the year? 

If you are self-employed, then taking even one day off means that the business potentially loses not only productivity hours but also revenue – or worse yet, clients.  

So how do you avoid working 52 weeks of the year, every year? How can you take time off for a family wedding, Christmas, a much-needed vacation and some of those public holidays too? Here are some handy tips to allow yourself some guilt-free and much-needed vacation time:

Plan ahead – way ahead

Booking far in advance to take a week or two off means that you can sufficiently warn your clients about the days you will be unavailable. That way, they have the opportunity to ask you to complete urgent jobs before you leave and there will be no shock or disappointment nearer the date, as they would have been forewarned.

You can plan to finish projects before your holiday, or you can have a notice displayed on your website or shop informing clients of the impending short-term closure.  If you have staff, you can ensure that they don’t take holidays on those dates.

Find your “low season”

Monitor your sales to see if you have high and low months or seasons – perhaps your business is based around occasions and holidays such as the wedding season or Christmas and New Year. If you repeatedly have a quiet April, then establish that as your holiday month – be it for a week or the entire month.

Get holiday cover for yourself

If you have employees, ask one of them to cover your absence – reward them with a bonus or a spa voucher as a token of appreciation. They will be grateful to prove themselves to you and to step up into a more responsible role.

If you don’t have staff, perhaps think of hiring a virtual assistant to answer calls and reply to emails on your behalf. Or ask a trusted family member if they could handle any urgent matters that may arise.

Choose your days off carefully

You don’t have to take off a traditional Monday to Sunday week – instead, try taking Thursday to Wednesday off. That way, you are available for clients in both of those weeks, whilst still allowing yourself an entire week off.

Instead of one or two weeks holiday, how about taking several 4-day breaks instead? Mini-breaks are incredibly beneficial so the more, the merrier.

A break will benefit your business

If you don’t give yourself some time off, eventually your business will suffer, because you will suffer. Depression, stress and anxiety are common in those who push through, overwork and neglect their wellbeing.

So you owe it to yourself and your business to take some mental and physical time off to recharge your batteries. Most or all of your clients will understand and you can set up out-of-office messages saying you will reply to any queries upon your return.

If needed, you can schedule emails, Instagram posts or Facebook ads whilst you are away, to keep your social media and business presence prominent.

And when you are officially “on holiday”, be sure to truly embrace it. Don’t keep checking your emails or glancing at your phone. Don’t panic about what might be happening in your absence, or the holiday won’t be of any benefit at all.

So, book some time off. You have earned the right to focus on you. Have a great holiday!

 

www.fembuiz.com.au

We all adore that Friday feeling, that wonderful countdown to the end of the workweek, for people working a typical 5-day schedule.  We feel a surge of excitement as we approach the final hour of the week and look forward to two entire days off and a Friday night to either chill or party.

We crave those two beautiful mornings where we don’t have to set an alarm or have to get on the same train or deal with the same colleagues and clients.

How many of you get that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach sometime late on a Sunday afternoon, knowing that in just a few hours you will be setting your alarm for what is commonly known as the “Monday morning blues”?

What if you could get out of that rut and actually look forward to your Monday mornings? Here are just some of the ways to make Mondays exciting again:

1. Monday Lunch

Make Monday lunch arrangements at least twice a month with a friend that lifts you and laughs with you – a person that you can truly be yourself with and look forward to seeing.

2. Monday Supper Club

Take it one step further and have a Supper Club with a group of uplifting, fun friends – once or twice a month, pick a different restaurant to try out. Many restaurants have great discount deals so check online for coupons and promos.

3. Get Dressed Up

Don’t opt for your usual work outfit on a Monday – wear a bright top, some accessories, perhaps heels and a spray of your favourite perfume.

4. Cupcake Breakfast

You have the rest of the week to be healthy – start the week off with a decadent cupcake, perhaps a cheeky chocolate donut, or get up 20 minutes earlier and sit in a café with a lavish latte and a magazine.

5. Wednesday Movie Night

Okay, so you can’t cram everything fun into a Monday, so pre-book a cinema trip for midweek. Popcorn, reclining seats – with or without company, go and lose yourself in the fantasy of a great film.

6. Spa Spoils

Buy some lavender oil or a face mask over the weekend to put on when you get home on Monday night. Maybe some bath salts or body scrub.

7. Sunday Positivity

Prep for your Monday morning mentally and physically by getting your Monday outfit ready in advance and your office bag packed whilst playing some funky music. Perhaps make a call to an uplifting friend or family member to end the weekend on a high.

8. Lighten the Load

Don’t schedule lots of meetings on a Monday, save those for later in the week.

9. Exercise

As much as it might hurt initially, set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual and go for a 20-minute power walk or do an online workout. Workout for Women is an amazing app that requires no gym equipment and has 7, 14, 20 and 28-minute workouts and a progress tracker. Get those endorphins flowing.

10. Half Empty or Half Full?

Half full of course!!! New week, new potential – see each Monday as a chance to approach a project with a new perspective and renewed enthusiasm.

11. Cheer Others Up

Surprise your colleagues with a little treat – maybe some mini muffins, or a small pot of carrots and hummus. Their appreciative smiles will be contagious.

If you try all of the above and still have that feeling of dread several months later, then ask yourself why you feel this way. Your job is such a huge part of your life that you really should be enjoying most of the time. Maybe it’s time to change things up.  Love It or Leave It

Here’s to your next wonderful Monday morning!