Why Does Gender Diversity Need to be Tackled in Facilities Management?

For several years now, the facilities management industry has noted a distinct lack of gender diversity. With the diversity of all types in the workplace bringing numerous benefits to industries across the country and beyond, it does seem that breaking the mould could drive innovation within the sector.

Gender in the facilities management industry

The facilities management industry is traditionally a male-oriented field, but research shows that men and women of all levels within the sector are equally capable of performing the tasks required of them, and are just as motivated as one another professionally. Experts say that it is simply a general lack of confidence that causes women to fail to excel in the way that men do in relevant organisations. That is not to say that women are weaker, but that men have dominated the industry in such a way that women perhaps cannot see a place for themselves in it. That, however, is where views are beginning to change.

Both women and men in positions of power are breaking the cycle by encouraging male and female workers to work collaboratively, and by putting in place programmes to enhance the recruitment of diverse employees in terms of gender and other measures. Other investigations into the field show that, as of 2011, most new recruits were women, a sign that the industry is slowly and positively evolving.

Men and women have different approaches

It’s said that men and women approach challenges in the workplace differently, but it’s these traits that make the two work so well together. Women are supposedly better at seeing beyond the technical and are more effective in building relationships, yet men are commonly thought to be better at problem-solving and physically-demanding tasks. As with most personal attributes though, these stereotypical views can differ widely from person to person, as each individual has their own set of unique features. As such, the industry should be focused on the implementation of diversity of personalities and not just gender diversity.

How to implement change

Firstly, women in the industry should encourage and mentor young female recruits entering the field, to remind them that there is a place for them in this sector and that they must make their mark now. However, this responsibility should also be shared with men. Allowing all new entrants, regardless of ethnicity, age or gender, the equal opportunities they deserve can help to bridge gaps. After all, nobody wants to achieve success for any reason other than their ability. Above all, inclusion is vital to tackling diversity, otherwise, there is no value gained from having a team that is diverse in gender or any other measure. As such, individuals must embrace and accept one another as team members, rather than as threats.

The benefits

Having a more diverse environment drives innovation in the workplace. Not only are more minds and views better than one, an organisation can benefit from attracting a wider interest from potential candidates too. For instance, if a company is renowned for only employing men for particular roles, a woman, who may be the perfect fit for the job, might be put off even applying for the role. With collaboration in full force, companies will attract and retain the best talent and ultimately perform better as collective workforces.