Women in merchanting


Women in merchantingIn 2018 the BMF set up a partnership initiative with BMN - Women in Merchanting.

The 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

Recruitment/Employment
- 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?

Retention/Career Progression
- 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.


Women in Merchanting Round Table - May 2018


13 February 2019 round table




The BMF and BMN held the second Women in Merchanting Round Table at the BMF in Coventry on 13 February. It was a lively debate, Chaired by Jennie Ward.

Participants were Kasia Demko (City Plumbing Supplies), Samantha Hanks (Cembrit), Sue McKinney (Chandlers Building Supplies), Lydia Sharples (Encon), Reina Reeves (Lords Builders' Merchants), Lynn Street (Midland Lead), Sophie Beard (MRA Marketing), Gwen Bergius (Ridgeons), Holly Wheldon (PTS Plumbing), Hazel Robinson (Murdocks), Lucy Furnival (SIG) and BMN Awards 2018 Women in Merchanting winner Anita Harrison Carrol (Sovini)

Participants debated many topics, including:  

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

     

    Recruitment/Employment

  • 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?

     

    Retention/Career Progression

  • Employment practices
  • Culture change
  • Physical working conditions
  • How to be credible and progress your career in a male dominated industry
  • How to include more male leaders and colleagues into this diversity challenge for our industry
  • What would you tell your younger self (when first starting your career and making job choices) to do more of or do differently? - share learnings, successes, hints and tips for others

Our thanks go to BMN for their partnership on this event and to MRA Marketing for sponsoring the photography.

 

You can read details of the February 2019 round table in the full article part 1 on pages 28/29 of March 2019 BMN


Videos of the debate will also be added to this page soon.