CIF International Women’s Day Conference 2023: Becoming stronger through a more diversified workforce

by | Apr 3, 2023

Pictured above is Hubert Fitzpatrick, CIF Director General Designate, Alan Coakley, President MBCA and Joanne Treacy, CIF Head of Southern Region Services

Hubert Fitzpatrick, CIF Director General Designate:

“It is hugely positive to see that over 16,000 women now work in construction, which is double the number of women who were working in the sector at the beginning of 2018. So, we are moving in the right direction. But we must pick up the pace. Our industry is changing and evolving every day and we will become even stronger as our workforce diversifies.

“Let’s strive to Embrace Equity into 2023 and beyond. Sustainability is a  journey we are all on and is likely to have a growing and continuous impact on the commercial and operational activities of CIF members. Our members have a significant amount of expertise and knowledge of sustainability in terms of how sustainable construction is developed and implemented.

“And the CIF has a key role to play in supporting its members to better understand sustainability.”

Tammy Bennett, Senior Global Enterprise Manager, Evercam; Áine Healy, HSQE & Sustainability Director, Glan Agua; Dermot Carey, CIF Director of Safety and Training and Lisa O’Shea, Chartered Quantity Surveyor, Ormonde Construction

Tammy Bennett, Senior Global Enterprise Manager, Evercam:

“My career started in construction in London at the turn of the millennium in 1999. I began in HR, move into procurement and then left the industry for about seven years and came back again.

“I’ve been with Evercam, a construction technology company, for six years now. I left the industry in 2009 because it wasn’t sustainable. I went into show business! Producing another project and deadline orientated industry – making stuff happen is my vibe around the workplace.

“What I found when I came back into the construction industry, albeit from the digital and technical side, was that most women come from a diverse background. Those skills you bring … as one lady mentioned earlier, she got hired because she had no construction experience, it was because of the diversity.

“We’re missing a trick. If we’re not getting at the 50 per cent we’ll never reach the figures that we’d hope to achieve.”

Sinead Hickey, Head of Sustainability (Ireland and Europe), John Sisk & Son; Paul Sheridan, CIF Director of Main Contracting; Anne Kinsella, Engineering Manager from Clonmel Enterprises; Ana Paula Paes Landim, Quality & Environmental Manager, Bennett Construction and Lorraine Fitzgerald, Head of Sustainability, Glenveagh Properties PLC

Sinead Hickey, Head of Sustainability (Ireland and Europe), John Sisk & Son:

“Not only do we need more women in the workplace but we need more diversity in terms of background working in the construction industry. I’m a bit of an anomaly from that perspective. I’m not an engineer, I’ve been called the social scientist of the team. I’ve a background in history, politics and sociology so really quite diverse. But it’s quite common in sustainability now.

“For me, it started with an ambition to create change from a social perspective. My first job was as a welfare officer, so that evolution, that path to addressing environmental, social and governance issues has been really fulfilling. Thinking about the scale of ESG or sustainability reporting that’s coming down the tracks is going to be extremely challenging.

“Getting our heads around that, about transparency and disclosure on a range of ESG topics is going to be enormous. The gender pay gap report is a really good example of the evolution towards that. It’s a bit of uncomfortable reading for many organisations, let’s be frank, but it is that starting point.”

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