Home » Women in STEM » Why construction and real estate is an attractive industry for women

Clair Daly

Head of People, Quintain Ireland

Isabelle Gallagher

Development Director, Quintain Ireland

The construction sector needs to recruit more women to its ranks. One company in the industry with a higher proportion of female employees reveals how it is bucking the trend.

When it comes to female representation, the construction sector struggles to keep pace with other industries. According to the CSO Labour Force Survey, women made up just 9% of Ireland’s construction workforce in 2022 — a disheartening statistic. 

Recruiting differently for real estate and construction 

At property development firm Quintain Ireland, 38% of staff are female. What is it doing differently? “We take a people-first approach; when we launched three-and-a-half years ago, HR was the first department to be established to ensure there was a strategic recruitment process in place aligned with our values,” explains Clair Daly, the company’s Head of People. 

Isabelle Gallagher, Development Director, Quintain Ireland, notes that all members of her team are female. “That’s not by design,” she explains. “There has been an increase in highly experienced female applicants, which signals change in the industry.” 

Traditionally, construction has not been
highlighted as a career path for women.
This is starting to change.

Clair Daly

Offer inclusive benefits and create female leadership role models 

Today, companies must have an inclusive culture and offer benefits such as flexible working, generous maternity and paternity leave and growth opportunities. Critically, they must have a gender-balanced leadership team. 

“Recently, a new joiner told me they could not believe there were so many women in senior levels within our organisation. Women must see female leaders who — just like them — are balancing life’s challenges while progressing in their careers,” says Daly. 

Our ambition is to create exceptional and affordable places to live.

Better awareness of career paths for women 

“Traditionally, construction has not been highlighted as a career path for women. This is starting to change. We must start educating our younger people within our education system of the wide array of opportunities within real estate and construction,” says Daly. 

The Quintain Ireland team is involved in a range of activities and comes from a variety of backgrounds including engineering, architecture, surveying, planning, legal, HR, finance and sales and marketing. “No matter the professional background, the job also requires logic, an appetite for problem solving and collegiality. The project-based nature provides a diverse range of challenges, encouraging innovation and camaraderie. It is extremely satisfying to see a project through to fruition,” says Gallagher.

“We’re developing a tangible product and creating communities for people to live in, which is very exciting,” adds Daly.  

Does the industry need more female representation?  

Yes, but it is evolving. The company is confident that there will be more women entering this industry if we continue to educate and communicate the wide range of opportunities. It’s exciting to be part of something that’s changing for the better. 

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