#BuildingEquality – Sharing Your Stories: Yvonne O’Sullivan

21 Jan 2019

As part of the #BuildingEquality 2019 Campaign, Yvonne O’Sullivan, Head of Talent with Ardmac, shares her story as a woman in construction.

Throughout my career I’ve always chosen to work in companies and industrial sectors where investment in people is high on the leadership agenda. The present growth in our industry is coupled with an increased investment in people through talent and development initiatives. Working at Ardmac has enabled me to create and build people initiatives to support our growing workforce.

Our employee value proposition promises career development and opportunities, Ardmac’s expansion in different sectors is providing plenty of options for career advancement from entry or graduate level to progression to the management team. Working with employees and helping them identify opportunities for growth has always been a key area for me to work in. The construction industry is all about collaboration and team work with relationships both internally and externally, as a HR professional this is the company culture in which I want to work.

In a previous role, I was the Head of Employee Relations, replacing a very seasoned professional on his retirement. He was a great role model for me. I learnt from him the value of relationships at every level and always seeing the end picture before taking the first step. He also taught me not to be afraid to challenge the status quo and look at new ways of doing things. Above all, he espoused the value of always being fair, even if it meant upsetting some people.

My dad is a great role model for me and always available as a sounding board, he had a great work ethic and understanding of how to get things done through people. In financial dealings, he always showed me the value of money with the power of generosity. I have always worked on the basis of keeping spend under control, but spending when it was appropriate.

Construction is a fast paced industry and full of opportunities for creativity and growth for all. The industry focuses on teamwork, creativity and in many instances, international opportunities, this can provide varied career progression and personal growth. Employee retention has also challenged companies to look at flexible ways of working and take on board feedback from employees on how personal agendas at all levels can be supported – this in turn can help attract women into our industry by supporting the work life balance that many women seek.

Females starting off their careers in engineering, design, QS or architecture should want to join a company where there are opportunities for growth, investment in people development and an opportunity to work with different cultures and sectors – construction provides all of these opportunities. If you are good at what you do, the opportunities to succeed in the construction industry have never been better. While traditionally a male dominated industry at some levels, continued expansion is changing previously held beliefs and the construction industry has recognized that female participation is vital to its success. Technology and investment in people is making construction an industry that it is easier to work in and the benefits for women can be immense.. Promoting this is something we can all, as women in construction, look to support.

To learn more about the #BuildingEquality campaign and to share your own story, please visit our dedicated page here

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