Women account for just 11 per cent of the total construction workforce, and they leave the industry at a rate almost 40 per cent higher than men.
There’s no denying the building and construction industries are not gender-inclusive thanks to pay gaps and entrenched bias in the overwhelmingly male-dominated sector. One female kicking goals in this space is Premium member, Trudy Davison.
Trudy is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Portfolio Housing Group (PHG), an Australian-based company that specialises in making the home building process easy for property investment consultants and their clients. A business she started with husband, Shaun, in 2012 when they found a disconnect for “mum and dad” investors who didn’t understand the construction process.
“We have a vision to ensure that the investment industry is cleaned up from the damage some spruikers have caused,” says Trudy. “[We wanted] to bring a true integrity to the industry.”
“Construction does not always go to plan, so being open and honest about the expectations and issues is the best way to do business.”
Being in the industry for over a decade, Trudy has some advice for women wanting to start out in the male-dominated space.
“Go for it!” Trudy says. “It is an exciting and diverse industry with so many avenues available. It is one of the industries that keep our country running, and there are not enough people, both men, and women taking up the jobs that are available.”
“Let’s swing open the doors, girls, and really stamp ourselves into this industry. Go! Go, out there and be carpenters, bricklayers, tilers, electricians, plumbers, roofers and landscapers.”
Trudy says the main challenges are not within the industry itself, as people working in construction are very happy to pass on their knowledge.
“The main prejudice is from owners; mainly men who question why and how a woman knows anything about building when they don’t.”
But Trudy isn’t being held back by those deeply entrenched views, besides promoting female talent, the most important thing for her as COO is ensuring the business is always growing and improving. And being dynamic when it comes to implementing change.
“If we find something better or a better way of doing something – change it, adopt the new way. If we find a gap or a missing link – fill it or fix it.”
“I lead by example and with true integrity and passion. I am not perfect and make mistakes so when I accept the responsibility for my actions always I show true courage, humility, and integrity.”
With a background in real estate and retail, Trudy spent seven years at Target as a department manager. One of the hardest business lessons she’s learned in her career is the importance of self-care. Recently she says her health went “crashing into a brick wall,” ending up in the hospital for three days and needing further recovery at home.
“One of the most challenging experiences I have had in my career was trying to do it all at once. I had stretched myself so thin to the point there was nothing [left to give].”
“I would love to say that I have learned some sense of ‘balance’ and have definitely put time management practices in place. I have discovered some amazing helpful services for my home. My son now has his own UBER account, and I have changed the way I do things in my life. I now ask for help and say no more often.”
Connect with Trudy here.
Behind every good design is a team of masterminds and we’re on the hunt to celebrate architects to enter Australia’s Richest Design Awards. Maybe you’ve just finished a massive home reno and want to celebrate your team? We want you to enter someone you know or nominate yourself for bragging rights. The Masonry Champions of Change program celebrates innovation and change, and Think Brick’s 11th Annual Awards demonstrates this in spades. Learn more about the Think Brick Awards here.