The 2021 National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Awards for Excellence were held at Sydney’s ICC last night.
Warm Congratulations go to Robert Co’s Stephen Surjan on winning this important new NAWIC Award category.
The NAWIC Awards celebrate the contributions made by women at all career levels and in all sectors of the construction industry. 2021 is the first year to see an award category added to acknowledge a male champion of change for accelerating and advancing the interests of women in the industry.
Commenting on the Male Champion category, George Bardas said: “Gender equity is critical to the performance, growth, and wellbeing of Australia’s workforce. At Taylor, we’re committed to raising awareness of the challenges women face in our industry, taking positive action to redress the balance, and celebrating the multi-talented women breaking new ground in property and construction. I am honoured to be a part of a committed and supportive male champion cohort within our industry.”
As an advocate for women in construction, George has spent his 30-year career working to better the representation of women at all levels. He has not only mentored and advocated for women, from cadets to senior executives, he has gained thoughtful and original insights from his mentees in return.
As an Adjunct Fellow of Built Environment & Construction Management at Western Sydney University, George worked with the University to design and implement a new Bachelor of Building Design Management Program (BBDM). This course aims to increase the diversity of the student intake to construction and building programs and provide an alternative and flexible stream for young professional graduates.
“To attract and retain women in construction, we need to increase interest and engagement with STEM studies, and we need to create a steady flow of work-ready female graduates,” George said.
“I take my responsibilities as a CEO and industry leader very seriously when it comes to gender diversity. Leaders in our industry have a duty to help implement educational programs and workplace strategies to inspire girls and women in STEM and increase access to industry networks for women in construction.”
Looking to the future, George believes that men in construction have a vital role to play in achieving gender equity.
“Real change cannot be brought about without the engagement and contribution of men in our industry. We’re proud that an increasing number of men have participated in our industry-leading engagement program, Taylor Women in Construction (TWIC). Through TWIC, we work together to strengthen internal and industry connections for all female team members across all levels of the business.
“We will only have succeeded when Awards such as this are no longer needed and gender equity is achieved within all ‘business as usual’ work practices, for all gender identities, across Australia.”
One of Taylor’s four guiding Principles is Diversity. We harness diversity of thought to create innovative solutions for our clients. To support this, we foster a culture of inclusion and equality in the knowledge that doing so provides broader perspectives, better working environments, and stronger business outcomes for everyone.
Taylor is committed to championing diversity and inclusion, and sharing targets to hold the business accountable over time. Taylor targets include:
- Increasing female representation at Taylor to 30% by 2026. (Currently 17%)
- Ensuring over 50% of women at Taylor hold rewarding site-based construction roles.
- Committing to a 50% annual female cadet intake.
Today, over 53% of women at Taylor work in rewarding site-based roles. We’re proud that this measure exceeds the industry average of 33%.
“I have experienced first-hand how the diversity of thought and leadership styles from women entering the construction and property sector has improved and enriched our industry. The attraction and retention of women to one of Australia’s most heavily male-dominated sectors, are certainly issues that require new ways of thinking, and innovative approaches to increasing women’s participation, but we are striving every day at Taylor to try and address this through our targets and initiatives,” said George.
Taylor continues to build engagement with NAWIC, with Jessica Evans appointment to the Board of Directors and this recognition being just the beginning.
Congratulations to George on this acknowledgement of his continuing efforts toward gender equity in construction.