Mid Ulster’s construction firms are leading the way on the recruitment of women, with five having already signed up to the Equality Commission’s STEM charter.
Heron Brothers in Draperstown is latest local company to make the commitment to improving the gender balance in its workplace.
A spokesperson for the property and construction specialist said: “Heron Bros is currently leading the way in a traditionally male-dominated industry, with 14 per cent female representation among its staff compared to an industry average of 11%.”
But what’s even more impressive, is that 40% of all the women employed at the company hold management and professional roles.
Other Mid Ulster companies that have made the pledge to increase their female staff numbers are Henry Brothers in Magherafelt, and Dungannon based McAvoy Corry, Moy Park and Terex.
The Equality Commission initiative aims to raise the profile of women in industry, highlighting their successes and providing a forum for them to meet others in similar roles through two annual events.
They have also vowed to develop a series of case studies involving women already working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) industries to encourage construction as an attractive career for young women.
Dr Evelyn Collins, Chief Executive of the Equality Commission, said: “We find it really encouraging that these businesses are making this voluntary commitment to support and encourage women in their industries.
“Opportunities for women to work and succeed in all industries are better now than at any time in the past, and women with the right qualifications and experience can now enter careers which were previously male preserves.
“But in the STEM industries, men continue to outnumber women by more than three to one in high level posts.”
She went on to say that encouraging more women into such roles could have a positive impact on Northern Ireland’s future prosperity and growth.
“It’s vital that bright girls and women with an aptitude to STEM subjects are inspired to see careers in the sector as an attractive option,” she added, “and that’s why liaison with schools and colleges, such as Heron Brothers is initiating, is so important.”
And Heron Brothers agree.
“Heron Bros benefits from access to a wider pool of potential employees that continues to create and promote the diversification of talent throughout their quality workforce,” a spokesperson said.
For details on how your company can get involved go to www.equalityni.org/STEM