Woman talks of breaking stereotypes in the construction industry

Rebecca O'Brien works for Poppet Construction as a quantity surveyor

Rebecca O'Brien works for Poppet Construction as a quantity surveyor - Credit: Poppet Construction

A female quantity surveyor has shared her story of working her way up in the construction industry — often being the only women in a room.

Rebecca O'Brien's family have all worked in construction and she was still in college when a family friend asked her to offer an industry training role to any of the boys she knew.

At that point, she asked: "What about me?"

The 24-year-old, who now lives in Wivenhoe, soon got a job with a firm in London before landing her current role at Poppet Construction, in Chelmsford.

"I do feel like sometimes it is a man's world, so I have to maybe push myself further or prove myself more," she said.


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"The more women that are in the industry, the easier it becomes and I have been very lucky to work under a few women now — that gives me confidence because most of the roles other than admin have been all men in some companies I've worked at.

Rebecca hopes more women will join the construction industry in the future

Rebecca hopes more women will join the construction industry in the future - Credit: Poppet Construction

"There are roles I have worked in previous jobs where I have sometimes wondered if the men are on the same wage as me, which isn't a nice feeling."

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Miss O'Brien says despite some of the stereotypes she faces, her job is exciting, different and interesting, with many career opportunities.

She often tries to persuade other female friends to get involved, although they worry it will be too male-dominated.

"From my experience, men in the industry don't mean to be sexist," she added.

"But it's stuff like them swearing and saying: 'Oh sorry, I didn't realise there was a woman in the room,' as if that should matter, or always assuming that certain roles will always be a man and being surprised if I turn up.

"Even though they don't mean to do it, that doesn't make it okay and there does need to be more awareness, either through education or talks.

Though the construction industry is still seen as male dominated, Rebecca is keen for women to benefit from some of the...

Though the construction industry is still seen as male dominated, Rebecca is keen for women to benefit from some of the fantastic career opportunities available - Credit: Poppet Construction

"In the future, I want it to not matter what your gender is and for there to be both men and women in the industry. I'm very lucky the company I work for is inclusive and I’ve never felt gender was an issue."

The quantity surveyor is keen for more women to join the industry and you can read more about her experiences here.

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