100 for 100 Series: Ellie Keighley | Wates

Equality of opportunity for everyone is essential for businesses to thrive. For 2019 International Woman’s Day, Ellie Keighley shares what #balanceforbetter means to her.

Ellie Keighley - Site Surveyor, Wates Construction

Introduce yourself for us

I’m 30 years old and live in Burley in Wharfedale with my partner Ben and cat Nitten. I’ve been working in the construction industry for eleven years, starting out in a small main contractor in North Yorkshire as an Office Junior after dropping out of a Forensic Science course at University. I was then promoted to Assistant Quantity Surveyor and completed my degree part time while working.

How long have you been in your current role?

I joined Wates just less than four years ago as an Assistant Surveyor and was promoted to Site Surveyor in September 2016.

What brought you to Wates?

The company I worked for went in to administration and I arranged several interviews with large main contractors. I interviewed with another three companies but quickly realised that Wates were the best choice for me – the security they offered as well as the progression routes were particularly important after a number of redundancies.

What advice would you give to women entering the industry?

I would advise women not to be afraid of making their voices heard and to believe in themselves. I read a Forbes article recently about the confidence gap in men and women – quite often women are just as capable and knowledgeable as men, but they feel less confident in themselves and their abilities. A Hewlett Packard internal report found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.

This year the theme of International Women’s Day is Balance for Better. What does this mean for you personally?

A diverse and balanced workforce plays a positive role in building better leadership teams. I would like to see a world where women are treated equally in all areas of life. Particularly in the workplace, it would be great if it is the normality that women are well represented at all levels of management. Also, I hope that men feel empowered to take shared parental leave or be a stay at home parent without fear of judgement from peers/colleagues or any negative impact on their careers.

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