Addressing Gender Diversity in the Built Industry

How triiyo is supporting companies in the built industries to address gender diversity and the retention of women.

Eda Caspillo, Marketing & Sales Coordinator

Addressing Gender Diversity in the Built Industry

Founder of triiyo, Rebecca Grainger was featured in Design & Build’s whitepaper examining the integral role workplace flexibility plays in retaining female talent in the construction, engineering and property industry.

Founder of triiyo, Rebecca Grainger was featured in Design & Build’s whitepaper examining the integral role workplace flexibility plays in retaining female talent in the construction, engineering and property industry.

Their research provides an in-depth analysis of the significant gender imbalance within construction, property and engineering related industries – especially within leadership and onsite roles.

The whitepaper summarised below, brings to the fore an issue which does not strictly pertain to the industries listed but is known to be widespread throughout many industries in Australia – and how investing in technological solutions such as triiyo, can simplify workplace transitions.

Breaking the cycle

Traditionally, parental leave (or maternity leave) has been perceived as more acceptable for expecting mothers to take rather than expecting fathers.

Organisations can fuel an ongoing cycle placing the burden of family commitments on women, negatively impacting working parents and particularly on the retention of female talent.

In order to break this cycle, both men and women should receive equal levels of support in juggling work-family commitments and parental leave equity from their organisation.

As the more parental leave is promoted and normalised, the more comfortable working parents (particularly men) feel in taking it and knowing they won't be perceived as less dedicated or committed to their job.

The cost of workplace transitions

Parental leave remains one of the main causes of attrition amongst other workplace transitions such as, remote working, sabbaticals, mental health leave and absences related to workers compensation.

Rebecca explains, “Human capital is an organisation’s biggest asset and biggest cost, yet this investment is typically unmanaged during key periods of leave, leaving organisations at risk of attrition…”

The issue of high turnover is a critical concern given the current climate of talent shortage and limited ability to hire overseas talent – acquisition and retention of talent is paramount as an effective people strategy.

Common points in an employee’s tenure whereby attrition peaks typically aligns with parental leave and returning working parents. Which for an organisation, predominantly signals a loss of female employees and a revolving door of female acquisition and attrition.

Young parents, particularly mothers within the built environment industries often feel like their employers won't have the resources to support them or lack confidence in their return to their previous role or industry.

Addressing the gap with triiyo

To address the gap of an effective female acquisition strategy and to meet diversity targets, many organisations are investing in parental leave policies to position themselves as an employer of choice for women and families.

However, organisations are failing to maximise the ROI of these policies typically due to managers being untrained and unsupported when dealing with parental leave – increasing the likelihood of employees having a negative experience.

triiyo has best practice workflows designed to guide managers before, during and after leave, therefore simplifying the process and ensuring the parental leaver has a consistently positive experience.

Enforcing the cultural shift

Organisational culture and management behaviours must be in alignment with such progressive policies by enforcing active and visible modelling of behaviour – for example, managers leaving loudly to collect children; ensuring meetings are held during the working day in-between pick up times so all team members can attend; keeping in touch.

By tackling the stigma associated with parents and for parity to be achieved, this means providing equal access to parental leave (irrespective of gender) – in turn normalising parenting in the workplace and removing barriers for men to take leave.

Removing the stigma will cause a distinct culture shift and consequently begin to change the narrative around parenting, truly making organisations more appealing places for women.

Being part of the solution

Simply put, being part of the solution with regard to parental leave is two-fold for organisations.

Making parenting an acceptable part of an employee’s work-life, will create opportunities for women to return to work, without concern that being a parent will limit their career.

On the other hand, by encouraging men to participate in care, this will create more empathetic conversations for women who are also carers.

When every employee feels they belong, the organisation will be able to maintain their key talent throughout workplace transitions.


“Leaders and organisations need to go beyond paying lip service to equality and parental leave parity, and genuinely walking the talk.”

— Rebecca Grainger, Founder, triiyo

This excerpt is from the Design & Build whitepaper “Workplace Flexibility” download a copy here.

All whitepapers on addressing Gender Diversity in the Built Industry can be found here.

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