A HOUSE builder is celebrating female employees who are breaking down gender stereotypes in the construction industry to mark International Women's Day.

Changes made by Barratt Developments Yorkshire East to create an inclusive work environment have seen progress in areas such as career development for women in senior leadership roles.

Recruitment processes have been reevaluated, increasing the number of applications from women and seeing a 20 per cent rise in female managers over the past two years.

In a bid to retain talent, the company has also improved maternity, paternity and flexible working benefits; returners from maternity leave increased from 46 per cent in 2014-15 to 66 per cent in 2017-18.

Justyna Snigurska graduated as an architect engineer in Poland, in 2005 and has worked across several disciplines including architecture, design and project management. She joined Barratt Developments in 2018 as a technical coordinator.

“As a mother, I’ve always felt supported by my employer and can see the business making a conscious effort to support women across all departments. Having worked in various construction-related roles around the world, I’ve seen how different countries approach diversity and I’m very proud to be pursuing a successful career at Barratt Developments.”

Laura Laverick has enjoyed a long career in the construction industry, beginning as an apprentice administrator. After joining Barratt Developments Yorkshire East in 2006 as a customer care coordinator, Laura has been promoted several times, most recently to head of customer care in 2017.

“It is so important that we have female role models within the company to encourage more women to join the construction industry, which has traditionally been male-dominated but has so much to offer women," she said.

"Having women represented throughout the workforce brings with it diversity alongside different perspectives and approaches which can only strengthen performance and drive innovation within our business for the future.”

Throughout Laura’s 14-year career at Barratt Developments, she’s attended a number of development programs allowing her to explore her potential and opportunities to further her career. The most recent program was aimed at female leaders and is one of a number of initiatives being promoted by the company.

Luci Walker started her career with Barratt Developments Yorkshire East in 1991 as a Payroll Administrator.

While in this role, she had two children and was supported in her return to work, with the offer of a more flexible part-time role to accommodate her family commitments.

A move from accounts to commercial as sub-contract clerk in 2005 brought with it an opportunity in 2010 and Luci embarked on a new career path as an assistant buyer. Luci is now working towards becoming a senior buyer.

She firmly believes in the importance of more women being supported and represented in the construction industry, which is still a predominantly male environment.

Daniel Smith, managing director, said: “We are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion with targeted initiatives in recruitment, training and development.

"Gender diversity is a key area of focus for us and we will continue to develop programmes to further increase the number of women in management positions and close our gender pay gap which is currently at six per cent comparing favourably to the UK average of 17 per cent.”