WIC Week

Women in Construction Week: Celebrating the women behind Devonshire Homes

1 March 2024

It’s Women in Construction Week (3rd – 9th March 2024), a national celebration that promotes the role of women in the construction industry.

Whilst the gender gap is slowly improving, the percentage of women in construction in the UK is still relatively low at just 15.8% according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This year’s theme, ‘Keys to the Future’, focuses on the strength and knowledge of women and the vital role they play in shaping the future of the construction industry. As an inclusive employer, we have a fantastic team of women here at Devonshire Homes, working across a number of departments, from customer services to quantity surveyors.

We hope that more women will consider a career in the construction industry in the future, helping to close that gender gap which is currently too wide.

This year, we will be introducing one of our longest-serving female employees, and one of our more recent recruits to share their own career journeys to where they are now.

Firstly, it’s over to Sales Executive, Susie Rowe our longest serving female employee….

I joined Devonshire Homes on the 31st October 2005, so am now in my 19th year! I joined as a Sales Executive and soon realized that the role was a perfect fit for me. At that time, the company was quite a bit smaller, and I felt like I was joining a family. Over time Devonshire Homes has been constantly evolving and expanding and me and my role have been growing with it, adapting to changes and opportunities along the way. I am proud to have been part of this growth, and excited about the future as we deliver more developments across the region.

Working in sales in the construction industry does bring challenges but also a lot of variation on a day-to-day basis. I enjoy my role so much because there are so many different hats to wear! The 'sales hat’ is the primary, but by no means the only one. It’s quite normal to be wearing a sales, legal, marketing, commercial, estate agency and technical hat, all in one day!
An understanding of the 'technical' side of the job is an important aspect of a sales role in construction. My ‘technical hat’ comes into play when homebuyers are looking to reserve their dream home 'off plan'. As there is not a tangible product to show, it’s crucial that the drawings must be understood and communicated clearly to purchasers.

The Sales Executive role is predominantly a customer facing role and it’s been my experience that potential purchasers are likely to have more confidence in you if you have confidence in yourself. Knowing your product well, is key in order to sell it. Never stop learning and asking questions. The more correct information you can offer with confidence the better. You are not trying to be a Site Manager but knowing the sq footages, understanding the build stages and a basic knowledge of how the houses are constructed is a good start.
Much of my time is spent on Site checking build stages, optional extras etc. Site is still a male-dominated environment. Building a good relationship with the site team and the 'trades' is beneficial as you will learn a lot from them.. Try and keep a good balance between being target driven and customer driven. This is hard one but very rewarding when you get it right!

It is noticeable that a large proportion of women in the industry fill sales and office roles. Although at Devonshire Homes we have a female board director and have had female assistant site managers, in general I feel women are very underrepresented on Site and in the Board Room. I would love to see more women 'on the tools', as Site Managers or heavy machine operators and I do think as attitudes change, more women will have the confidence to own these roles. I like the idea of being a crane driver but have probably missed my vocation now!”

Thanks to Susie for sharing her experiences in construction.

Join us later in the week to hear from Amber Gratton-Davey, who has swapped her ‘technical hat’ as an Assistant Site Manager to become our new Customer Services Manager.

Click here to find out more about Women in Construction Week.