Specialist façade supplier Vivalda Group is leading the construction sector when it comes to helping women break through the industry’s ‘glass ceiling’. Boasting an operational management team of mostly women (58%), the UK’s largest independent provider of complex cladding solutions counts no less than seven women among its senor team of 12 managers.
Compared to the industry’s national average of 14%* of women in the workplace, Vivalda is clearly doing more than most to encourage diversity in the construction sector. However, the business attributes this success more down to its open, ‘can do’ culture than any formal, positive discrimination programme.
Jade Lawlor, branch manager at Vivalda’s Birmingham office said: “I began working at Vivalda in the sales team three years ago and really enjoyed the challenge of the role. Last year I was promoted to branch manager, which was a huge confidence boost. Sure, the construction industry still has a bit of a macho reputation, but that’s definitely changing. These days, we’re much more likely to solve problems by working together as a team, irrespective of gender.”
Peter Johnson, founder and chairman of Vivalda Group, said: “With a grown up family of my own, including four young grandchildren, I have seen at first hand the challenges facing everyone who juggles the demands of a career with caring for children or other relatives – and in our society it is often women who fulfil this role.
“While we have not resorted to quotas or anti-discriminatory policies, we seem to be doing something right in attracting and retaining good talent from both genders. We try to be flexible and understanding when it comes to timekeeping and understand that there will always be times when people may need to arrive late or leave early to see to issues at home. We find that fostering an inclusive, supportive culture is good for morale and also good for business.”
Running its ten office, £39m turnover operation from its Birmingham headquarters, the company provides non-flammable facades and fixing systems to the public and private sectors. The Vivalda Group also comprises the Pura Facades brand, BBS Facades and MSP Scotland, based in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.