Women in merchanting
In 2018 the BMF set up a partnership initiative with BMN - Women in Merchanting.
BMF and Builders’ Merchants News have held round table debates in 2018 and 2019 with a group of leading women to
discuss how merchants can attract and retain more female employees.
14 May 2018 round table
The first round table was chaired by Elizabeth Eyre, BMN Editor and attended
by leading women from merchants and suppliers, to discuss why
there are so few women in the sector and what can be done to increase
the number. The attendees were:
- Louise Polston, Commercial Director at Alsford Timber
- Natasha Rose, Managing Director of Andrews Building Supplies
- Aisling Kenny, HR Director at the BB Group
- Julie Bullock, HR Director at Ibstock
- Christine Jones, Director at the Joseph Parr Group
- Bev Brown, Managing Director of Lakes Bathrooms
- Linda Clarke, Marketing and Digital Director at MKM Building Supplies
- Lucia Di Stazio, Managing Director of MRA Marketing
- Glynis Catterson, Director at S & A Builders’ Merchants
- Catherine Gibson, Managing Director of Tool Hire
- Lucy Lynch, International Managing Director of Toolstation
- Fiona Kerr, Regional Managing Director, Scotland & North England, at Travis Perkins
- Christine Wilde, Managing Director of Catnic.
Topics covered during the lively two-hour discussion included:
Education/Training The skills shortage
- The poor image of construction generally and of merchanting specifically as a career option
- Lack of information about the merchant sector among young people generally and girls/young women specifically
- Lack of local opportunities for women to get involved in
- Growing demand within construction – merchants are enjoying a boom time – but skills gaps are being identified
- How do merchants recruit new employees? Do they make themselves attractive to women?
- How does working at a merchant fit in with women’s lifestyles, expectations, requirements etc.?
- What is it like for a woman working at a merchant? What have been the struggles, the successes and the stereotypes?
- Employment practices
- Culture change
- Physical working conditions
The BMF and BMN thank Ibstock Brick and MRA for their kind sponsorship of this event.
You can read full details and watch videos and biographies of round table participants at Builders’ Merchants News.