Women in Tech

Laying foundations for Women in Construction

8th March 2023
Sheryl Miles

On International Women’s Day, Sofia Porsborg, Land Surveyor and Application Engineer at Construction Augmented Reality (AR) specialist XYZ Reality, shares her views on being a women in the construction industry.

What led you to become a field application engineer?

I didn't really know that I wanted to pursue this role until I was around 15 years old. I had a teacher in school that knew I wanted to study engineering. At that point, I wasn’t sure of the area of engineering, but she helped to guide me. I could not be happier about finding this path as I find it really interesting because you can work in the office and the field, anywhere on the planet.

It is worth noting it can be complicated when you are a woman, and you want to try to find a job in construction. Roles in the office are typically easier to find, however, generally if a male and female have the same experience and backgrounds, males are preferred.

So has the industry changed for women, and do you think it's witnessing a positive change?

Yes, things are definitely changing. In one of my previous roles, there were only two of us women in the office. Fortunately, my employer started to employ more women however, for a time, we were not allowed to go on site to take measurements as the role was seen as too physically demanding. I had conversations with my employer around this. This did change down the line.

What do you think is the most prominent issue that we’re faced with today in construction or generally in their communities?

I think the most difficult thing that women have to tackle today is that it feels like we have to show we are more experienced and capable than a male going for the same role to stand a good chance. There is still a preference for males in many roles. You almost have to bring something additional to the table, whether it be organisational skills, or experience with software to make you more competitive.

What advice would you offer women interested in a career in construction? The next generation?

Like anything of interest, my advice is to try it. No matter the obstacles, don’t be dissuaded if you are passionate about a career in construction. Also, do not make men the enemy, help them to understand the challenges women are faced with. I think it’s clear that a woman with the same experience and background will not necessarily have a better chance than a man in the same position. However, I say don’t give up.

How has technology made it easier for women to break barriers and succeed in the construction industry?

I think the main way that technology is helping women in construction is by removing some of the physical aspects of certain roles. This means women who are sometimes viewed as less physically-able stand a better chance at getting positions in the field where roles have historically been more limited to males. 

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