“If our industry is to progress, it needs to take gender equality seriously”
For International Women’s Day, Mike Putnam, Skanska UK Business Unit President, shares insights and actions on helping women move ahead. In his role, Mike oversees all aspects of Skanska’s UK business, which is comprised of 5,400 employees.
Why are more women needed in construction and development?
Not only do we need diverse and inclusive teams that represent the communities we work in, but there is a very real skills crisis in the industry. By employing and supporting women at all levels of their careers, we can harness their extensive abilities to ensure we can continue to meet the needs of society.
An action you are taking to help advance women in our industry is…
I am championing the need for better diversity internally across Skanska UK, and externally by speaking at industry events to share best practice.
Why is this an important topic for you?
It’s important to society, important to customers and important to those who currently work for us, and to those we want to attract in the future. If our industry is to progress, it needs to take gender equality seriously and remove and any lingering discrimination – perceived or real – so we can attract, recruit and retain the very best to deliver for our customers.
In our industry, how do you define success with gender equality?
When everyone receives the same experience and opportunities regardless of gender: this includes the same promotional prospects, equal pay and workplace flexibility.
What are some next steps for making construction more inclusive to men and women?
I am passionate about making construction a great industry for everyone to work in: men and women equally. We are trying to change mindsets by working collaboratively both within Skanska and with others in the industry and we are achieving success – changing the dials slowly but surely.