Push for gender equality in our industry

It is well known that our industry is characterised as a male-dominated environment. Only 10.7% of our employees are females. This can discourage women from applying to roles in NRC Group.

, by Charlotte Krog

Building gender-inclusive workplaces unlocks growth opportunities and even boosts socioeconomic progress. We believe showcasing opportunities within our company, how women with different backgrounds work and what motivates them in NRC Group, can be one way to attract more women to our industry.

Fanni Valkama

Fanni Valkama (27) from Espoo in Finland, has been with NRC Group for 2,5 years. She holds a Master of Science in environmental engineering, and she co-worked with NRC Group on her master thesis. Today she is employed as a project engineer in NRC Group Finland.

During her working hours, she shares tender requests, creates contracts for subcontractors, and participates in contract negotiations and site visits. In addition, she conducts safety measurement tours to our projects and oversee quality and environment documentation.

- It was a coincident that I applied for a summer trainee in the sustainability team. I had never considered working in the construction industry before. It appeared interesting and relevant for my studies. When I finished my degree, I was offered a job at NRC Group as a project engineer, which I gladly accepted since I had enjoyed working there.

As a newcomer to construction, Fanni appreciate the friendly and helpful colleagues. Having the opportunity to building a better future is quite important for her. She says it will never get boring. The industry is constantly evolving.

How is it to combine your job with family life?

- I have two dogs if that counts as family! Combining work and taking care of my dogs has worked out great as the work is flexible. Usually, I spend around six hours at the construction site and finish the workday at home so that my dogs don’t have to be alone so many hours.

Cim Geiverz

Cim Geiverz (36) works as a site manager in NRC Group Sweden. She has been with NRC Group Sweden for four years. Previously, she worked in telecommunications for businesses and individuals, but through a former colleague, she was introduced to this industry.

- It is an exciting industry to work for, everyone can feel welcome. As a Site Manager, I lead our commitments in projects from the planning stage to implementation and follow-up. My days vary a lot, from sitting in multiple meetings one day discussing technical solutions, production progress, budget and forecasting work, to managing the daily operations in the field during ongoing production.

Cim has three children aged 5, 12 and 13. She mentions that it takes a bit of planning and thought to manage everything related to school, activities, and family time. However, she adds that the role of a Site Manager provides her with excellent opportunities for a good work-life balance due to the flexible workday.

Majorathy Shrikantharajah

Majo (27) from Norway works as a controller for NRC Group Norway. Her educational background is within economics and administration from the Norwegian Business School (BI) She has worked in the company for three years.

In her daily work she collaborates with a variety of teams and follow up on the finances as a support function for project managers. Her day typically involves analysing project costs and revenues, the productivity as well as predicting future trends. Her analyses help identify risks more effectively.

- The typical workday might involve preparing documentation for various requirements, analysing numbers, and comparing them to the budget. I also enjoy being out in the field. In a relatively short time, I have gained a lot of knowledge about concrete production and participated in a few pours.

She also assists with Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) and the preparation of management reports, providing a holistic overview and quickly identifying connections and implications.

Majo was looking for a part time job while she was studying. She came across a job posting at NRC for an accounting position that caught her interest.

- In my education, construction and infrastructure are rarely mentioned, which I find unfortunate. Being an economist, there are numerous opportunities for me to develop. The financial knowledge is highly valuable in the construction industry. And I think the industry is unique in many ways, because you can make an impact and you become engaged very quickly because it's incredibly fun.

The entrepreneurial spirit is something Majo started to develop at NRC Group, and she finds it to be very rewarding to work for a contractor. Majo says it’s the people at NRC Group who bring out the drive and entrepreneurial spirit in her.

- Project teams are very solution-oriented, and they don't give up until they succeed. It's great to work with these people! The amount of work that goes into Norway's infrastructure was something I didn't realise before joining NRC Group. But now that I am aware of the knowledge and effort it takes, I appreciate it a lot, she says.

By demonstrating curiosity and a genuine interest in the projects, she challenges herself.

- Despite my primary task being to oversee project finances, I also enjoy understanding the stories behind the numbers.

Majorathy Shrikantharajah

The Importance of Diversity in Construction

Projects with both genders contribute to a positive working environment and effective solutions. So why do women hesitate to apply for jobs in the industry?

Cim believes that it relates to cultural heritage where a perception still exists that construction jobs, and perhaps railway jobs in particular, are reserved for men. To dispel these prejudices, she believes that all companies in the industry should work together to show that everyone is welcome, regardless of gender or ethnicity.

- In my opinion, the construction industry is not very familiar to women. Summer jobs at construction sites mostly attracts men. The lack of female colleagues makes it less appealing I think, says Fanni.

Majo says that construction and civil engineering are known to be male-dominated professions, which can be experienced as a bit rugged. The industry is also recognized for heavy work with large machinery, which may not appeal to women to the same extent as to men.

- Both men and women on a project team, creates a good balance. As a woman in the industry, I think one needs to be assertive. I believe many women possess these qualities, she says.

As we build our future, we are committed to fostering an inclusive environment where every individual, regardless of gender, thrives and contributes.

Anders Gustafsson, CEO NRC Group

Time for a change

Despite the conversation surrounding gender equality in construction, the representation of women in the industry remains stagnant. This is why it's important to show women's capabilities in the construction industry. Women have historically been underrepresented, and it's time to change. More young women are now inspired to pursue dreams and aspirations in construction and engineering by highlighting skills and experience needed.

All three NRC Group women wish for more female colleagues.

- I hope more women choose to apply for positions in our company, says Majorathy, and Fanni adds: It´s not that I don’t like my male colleagues, but I think adding diversity and different perspectives and approaches to work is always a good thing.

Cim says that she hopes to see more women at work in NRC Group in the future.