16% female participation
vs. industry average of 13%
19% new female hires in 2022
vs. 8% in 2020
10 partnerships in place that aim to empower women
When FDC Senior Design Manager, Natalie Burrello, had her daughter, Amelie, in 2020, it was a time of both excitement and trepidation. After all, growing a human is no easy feat. It’s a paradox of emotions and adjustments; the bliss of new motherhood versus the bleary-eyed torture of sleepless nights; unconditional love versus the shock of wrangling a screaming newborn.
Though the construction industry is notoriously male-dominated, FDC has long been a champion of women, actively encouraging them to join the team, and providing working mothers with benefits that support them through the transition into motherhood and beyond.
“The return-to-work bonus woven into FDC’s maternity leave reminded me that everyone was pleased to have me back. I’m especially grateful for the support I’ve received, with ongoing flexibility that’s allowed me to work from home and choose my hours so I can more efficiently balance my job with my role as a mother,” says Natalie.Read More
“Supporting a mother’s transition back to work is critical, especially when it comes to the emotional side of things. It’s a huge life shift. In my case, the understanding I received from my team helped me flip the weight of my feelings from nervous to excited.”
For working mothers, balancing the pressures of professional responsibilities with home life and child rearing is a juggle requiring mental strength and resilience. And while a report by PwC revealed 48 per cent of new mothers said they were overlooked for career advancement because they had children, the transferrable skills honed by motherhood such as efficient time management, conflict resolution, multitasking and compassionate leadership makes them an asset to the workplace.
Achieving new goals
When GIANTS Netball Defender April Brandley returned to the court five months after having her son, Clay, it was with some apprehension. “I felt a bit scared coming back because I’d been so confident in my body for so long; my body is my machine, and after I had Clay it felt like it wasn’t really mine anymore. As an athlete, you know your body so well, and then you have a child and everything you know about it just goes out the door,” she explains. “I have a whole new appreciation for my body now and what it can do, grow a human, stretch and expand and allow me to play five months after having a baby.” What April couldn’t have foreseen was just how much life was about to change.
The power of support
Just a few months after training started, the pandemic struck. The entire GIANTS team was forced to relocate to a hub in Queensland so they could continue playing. With typical resilience and passion for her sport, April moved to the Sunshine State with her husband, Jason, and baby in tow. “I couldn’t have imagined leaving them during that time, I would have missed them so much. I’m so thankful they came with me,” she says. “It was incredible watching Clay bond with the team and seeing my little family in the crowd, cheering me on each game.”
FDC has been the inaugural platinum sponsor of GIANTS Netball since 2017, driven by supporting women to excel, and ApriI’s teammates and manager were crucial in supporting her successful return to the court. They helped to look after Clay during training and boosted her confidence to continue being the talented athlete she is. “I’m lucky to have role models in my life who are also amazing mothers—people who reminded me to slow down and enjoy every moment in the present,” said April. “Having a kid was the best thing for me and it’s also been a really good test for my mental fitness. I love having Clay around. He keeps me grounded. When I was younger, netball was absolutely everything, but now I can enjoy the sport even more because I have a new perspective.”
Elise exemplifies how a female seeking a career in construction can thrive with FDC.
Studying interior architecture in 2005, she worked as an interior designer for four years before transitioning into construction management in 2010, gaining experience working on large scale projects and now specialising in interior fitouts.
Elise joined FDC in 2017 and has since made impressive progress with the business, most recently being promoted to Senior Project Manager.
“I started out with FDC working on smaller projects but was rewarded with larger ones,” says Elise.Read More
“FDC could have appointed a Project Manager from our office in Sydney, or hired externally, but they believed in my abilities. I have since been promoted to Senior Project Manager and I’m the only person in our ACT division to be appointed to that position.”
FDC champions women in our industry and business. We actively seek to promote gender equality and are proud of our female hire percentages which are increasing yearly, 19% female hires in 2022 compared with 8% in 2020.
We have higher-than-average female representation in our workforce nationally, 16% against the industry average of 13% and Elise’s team has a particularly high number of women.
“On our recent Deloitte Canberra project, we have about 80% female team representation including senior members Stephanie Fereday, Senior Contracts Administrator, Emilia Deeble, Project Coordinator and Nikola Anastasi, Cadet,” says Elise.
“I put that down to our culture and processes. We get a large number of applicants, both male and female. Our ACT General Manager, Ben Van Dijk has the mindset that we should hire the best person for the job based on experience and skill, regardless of gender.”
The 6,000m2 multilevel Deloitte Canberra office project is a significant one for Elise and the business, being FDC’s 15th building for the client. “We always pride ourselves on our delivery and customer service but with Deloitte being a national client for us, the stakes and expectations were especially high,” says Elise.
The building boasts a wide array of facilities such as quiet spaces, meeting rooms, breakout areas, offices and open plan workstation areas.
FDC were engaged under an ECI process to provide Deloitte with time and cost assurances, de-risking the project during the build process. “We were able to provide valuable input regarding the project buildability, costs and safety while committing to and delivering a tight construction program.”
She says she was pleased to see not only a large proportion of women in her team for the Deloitte Project, but that she also noticed a lot of female external contractors making strong contributions. “At FDC we have a lot of women with ‘boots on the ground’ jobs, not just traditional office-based roles.
“We’re also seeing more female leaders in trades on site such as electricians and plumbers. We had a senior female with a traditionally male job title on site for Deloitte, ACT.
With her ‘firm yet fair’ leadership style and results-focused approach, Elise has developed a reputation for getting the best from her team.
“I do expect a lot from my team but it’s part of mentoring them on how to problem-solve and complete projects on time and to the highest quality.”
FDC holds a numbers of partnerships and membersips that aim to empower women.