"I want people to have the careers they want"
For International Women's Day, Tiina Koppinen, Skanska Finland Executive Vice President, shares insights and actions on helping women move ahead. In her role, she is a member of that Business Unit's Management Team and is responsible for business in eastern, central and northern Finland.
Why are more women needed in construction and project development?
To make sure we have the best people in each position, we need to look at the whole talent pool, not just some subsection of that pool. That means we need to consider women and men, and people of different ethnicities and ages. Also, both Skanska and the entire construction and development industry need to look like society, as in society women increasingly hold important positions in companies, municipalities and other organizations.
An action you are taking to help advance women in our industry is...
I am part of a Skanska Finland network called Mythbusters. It is a group of men and women intended to increase diversity and inclusion. The Skanska Finland management team – of which I am also a part – has decided to implement quite a few of the recommendations from Mythbusters, including to pilot flexible working hours on sites to help meet the needs of families, and to provide more mentoring and coaching to young people of both genders early in their careers.
I mentor young women to help them progress in their careers. And I try to be a good example of how women can move up in Skanska. I want people to have the careers they want, and not to shy away from opportunities because they are a woman or a minority.
Also, I am part of Skanska's Group-wide Senior Women Advisory Group (SWAG), which is a group of 29 women in senior line positions across our organization who provide input to the Senior Executive Team on matters relating to inclusive culture. It really is an amazing group and it gives me a lot of energy.
What are some next steps for making construction more inclusive to men and women?
As part of Skanska Finland's 2020 Business Plan, we are paying special attention to fair and equal compensation for employees. If two people are in the same role, they should get same salary, regardless of gender.
We also need to inspire more women to seek technical degrees. While in Finland 54 percent of university students are female, only 22 percent of technical degree candidates are female. That means that the amount of women in the talent pool that we draw from is small compared to men. So we need to show that there are interesting careers and great career opportunities in the industry for women.