Mark Reynolds spoke at the FTSE Women Leaders in Property and Construction event alongside ICE director general, Janet Young.
Network groups are a proven to increase the number of women leaders in the industry, according to the CEO of construction firm MACE Group.
“Network groups have been fabulous at driving change [at MACE],” Mark Reynolds, who’s also chair of MACE Group, said at a FTSE Women in Leadership in Property and Construction event at One Great George Street, London, last week.
Reynolds was speaking on the panel alongside the ICE’s director general Janet Young and Helen Gordon, CEO of property firm Grainger.
“The power of network groups shouldn’t be underestimated in driving change and holding us to account,” he said.
There was no doubt among the panellists about the benefits of having women in leadership positions in the infrastructure industry.
Young said: “Women are exceptional at delivering project that meet societies’ needs, so why wouldn’t you want to involve them?
“Having diverse leaders that include women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities means we’re going to get a much more rounded view of what projects are needed.”
‘Show commitment from the top’
The most important thing for leaders to do is to show commitment from the top to increasing the diversity of the organisations, Young said, and to go beyond what’s legally required.
She said: “[It’s about] being open and making it easy for leaders to be accessed, and for them to hear comments from their employees.
“Let’s not just meet the legislation on reporting gender pay difference. Let’s actually publish more data than that. Let’s publish data on how employees are feeling, how they feel about the organisation.”
Diversify your recruitment panels and curate careers
One thing she said that all companies can do quite easily to increase their levels of diversity is to ensure recruitment panels are diverse.
If companies don’t have the in-house capacity for this, “you can get independent panel members to sit on your panels,” Young said, which can “make a big difference for women coming in”.
Grainger CEO Helen Gordon also shared examples of strategies that have worked to drive change at her company.
One of these is showing people their career pathways.
“You’ve got to really curate people’s careers. As leaders, you’ve got to encourage other leaders in your organisation.
“[This means] putting in policies, coaching, mentoring, all sorts of things to make people think it’s best to stay with you and in this industry than to leave it.”
Use the ICE network to your advantage
Meanwhile, Young encouraged the leaders in the audience to take advantage of the wide network that is the ICE’s 96,000-strong membership.
“We’ve got a very large membership. We’ve got a role to showcase those role models to people at whatever stage of their career.
“We can amplify the messages you’re putting forward. It’s a network at your disposal.”
She added: “In the past, they’d be seen as old boys’ clubs, but they are hugely changing, so please do leverage your access to professions to help with your messaging.”
Join ICE Connects
Only six percent of current ICE Fellows (around 300 out of 5,000) are women.
The ICE Connects: Women in Fellowship programme is an ambitious effort to increase fellowship applications from women in the profession by offering mentoring, support and networking.