In a recent interview with Ardmac’s Recruitment Manager, Caoimhe Matthews, she shared insights on the obstacles women face in entering the construction industry and the efforts Ardmac is making to increase the number of females in their workforce  

What is your role? 
‘My name is Caoimhe Matthews and I am the Recruitment Manager in HR.’

What do you see as obstacles for women getting into the construction industry?
‘The main obstacle for women getting into construction at the moment is that they are not aware of what their options are. For instance, in schools, young girls may not be aware of the different roles that they could take up in a construction industry. If somebody’s interested in maths and problem solving, they might be suited to a career in engineering but may not be aware of the courses available to them. At Ardmac we visit several girls’ secondary schools every year. We want to advise them of their options post-secondary school within construction, because it’s not always something that’s spoken about it, particularly in girls’ schools. ‘ 


Caoimhe anticipates that with continued effort and promotion, there will be a significant improvement regarding gender balance within construction in the years to come. One of the main obstacles Caoimhe has identified is the lack of awareness among young girls about the various roles available in the industry. She highlighted the importance of reaching out to schools to educate students about the opportunities within construction. By increasing awareness and visibility of these roles, more women may be inclined to consider a career in construction.   

Have you seen an increase in female applications in recent years in the construction industry? In what divisions?
‘I have noticed an increase in female applications in particular roles over the past 12 to 18 months, mainly for Quantity Surveyors, Estimators and Architectural Technologists. At Ardmac, we have a split of 79% male to 21% female, which may not seem like a lot, but according to the CSO, it is on average 91% male to 9% male within the industry. This is something that we are constantly working on. We’re very proud of what we have right now and it’s something that is always at the forefront of our minds, for future planning and recruiting females into Ardmac and into the industry.  


How can we encourage the recruitment of women in construction even further?
‘To make construction more accessible to women, I think we need to promote our policies. If you have at our procedures for instance here at Ardmac, we have EDI policy and we have a health and well-being programme that is board member sponsored. We are lucky to have paternity and maternity policies, as well as flexible working hours. I think that’s quite positive, and we need to promote that to females as much as possible to make these kind of positions more accessible to them. 


By recruiting new female talent and supporting them to succeed, Caoimhe plays a crucial role in shaping the future of Ardmac and the construction industry. At Ardmac, we are lucky that we can highlight our own successful female employees within the company and share their stories, and experiences, to inspire and attract more female applicants. 


What do you enjoy about your job
‘Something I really enjoy about my job is meeting people who have a real love and passion for what they do. I get to meet them at interview stages, then they become candidates and they potentially become colleagues. I get to see them move up within the company. That is something I really love about recruitment and about my position, seeing the people here progress’ 


How do we break the bias around women in construction.
‘I think breaking the bias in ‘Women in Construction’ is something that’s going to come with time. I think 10 years from now we will see a big difference. Yes, it is male dominated at the moment, but it doesn’t mean it always has to be. I think that is all about advertising, promoting, bringing females up the ranks where we can, and showing that there is a serious career progression within construction, for males and for females.’ 


By promoting awareness, supporting policies, and breaking biases, we can create a more inclusive and diverse industry for future generations of women to thrive in.  

At Ardmac we continue to challenge stereotypes and biases. We promote the successes and achievements of our female employees. We are proud of the challenges they overcome daily and will continue to give them the tools to thrive and become the best version of themselves.