Building A Career In A Male-Dominated Industry

Housebuilder, Jessup Partnerships, is looking to encourage talented women into the workforce and has produced a video to help inspire other women to consider a career in construction.

Site manager, Kirsty Lynch was one of those featured in the video alongside her colleague Michelle Howe, a health & safety advisor.

Lynch worked at Jessup five years ago and recently returned as the site manager at the housebuilder’s Lower Valley Road development in Dudley. She had previously worked in health and social care for over 20 years but decided to take the plunge into the construction industry in her 40s.

Lynch says: “After a long and successful career in health and social care, I decided I needed a new challenge so, I retrained and gained the necessary qualifications for site management.

“I applied for around 500 jobs to get myself onto site- having no trade background and being female, I did not feel like I was taken seriously. After a while, I eventually obtained a role but I had to travel around 600 miles a week for work. This position was for a trainee assistant site manager which led to me being promoted to assistant site manager within two years.

“I’ve had to work incredibly hard to prove myself.

“Being a woman brings a different dynamic to a construction site. For the most part, all the sub-contractors, the supply chain and the community, embrace and support my role, however a minority have to be challenged with education and training. Equality and diversity are the starting points ensuring we have equal rights such as pay, career progression and a voice.”


Tough journey

Lynch adds: “This journey has not always been easy, near impossible at times, with archaic and outdated attitudes. Like all good career paths if you want something you have to work at it. Having a supportive employer makes a massive difference, one who supports and embraces the diversity we bring to the role.”



Lack of diversity

The Office for National Statistics reported that in Q4 of 2022, 2,171,000 people in the UK worked in construction. Out of those people, just 321,000, 14.7 per cent, were women.

With a number of female employees already in a range of roles across the company, Jessup is keen to break the stereotype around women working in construction.

Michelle Howe, who joined Jessup Partnerships in 2022 as a health & safety advisor, previously worked for a large precast concrete manufacturer as a health & safety co-ordinator. Howe, who works on sites across the West Midlands says: “Since joining Jessup, I have felt well-supported in my career progression and have received the relevant training to enable my transition from manufacturing to construction.

“I feel well supported by my manager and the site teams that I work with on a daily basis. My opinions are listened to and valued. I have never felt anything other than welcomed and accepted by the site personnel.

“If I could give any advice to women thinking about starting a career in construction, I would tell them that they absolutely should pursue it. I think that working in construction is far more inclusive than it was five years ago. There are now a lot more women actually working on site.”


International Women’s Day

Chris Timmins, MD at Jessup, says: “We are extremely proud to be part of the collective effort to drive more women into the construction industry. Through our International Women’s Day video, we hope we can inspire more women to break the stereotype and build a career in construction.”

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women, promoting equality and raising awareness about discrimination. In 2023, it took place on 8 March. 

This year, the theme is #EmbraceEquity, which is all about educating people on the difference between equality and equity and highlighting why it’s so important.


Picture: Site Manager, Kirsty Lynch at Jessup’s Lower Valley Road development in Dudley.

Article written by Cathryn Ellis
11th March 2023


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