Health and Safety Recruitment
There has been a great change in the roles that women have taken on in the workplace over the last 20 years. The number of women in the workforce has increased as well, despite the challenges of inequalities, wage gaps, and the glass ceilings that they have been forced to endure.
In years past women were forced to tolerate these challenges due to socioeconomic needs, despite how little they earned and how oppressed their growth was. Women faced the challenge head on, and because of the trail they blazed back then, women in the workforce are winning more today.
Women are taking on more diverse roles and have prospered regardless of the obstacles. However, we believe that an area that could benefit from a stronger female presence is the field of health and safety. Why is there a need to have more women in health safety roles? Because the industry, veterans and newcomers alike, has called for it.
For a long time, women have struggled to be heard and treated fairly in this occupation. It is a rarity to see a woman in a leadership role in this industry. In Coyle’s business, we most definitely have noticed that women tend to stay away from contractor safety roles, instead focusing only on permanent positions. We believe this contributes to the gender imbalance in our industry.
So many women have discussed how they have needed to grow a “thick skin,” and a “toughen up attitude” just to be accepted. Through their sacrifices, persistence, education, and determination these women have had a powerful, positive impact on the lives of many people. The health and safety industry needs more women in leadership roles to further the impact they have fought so hard to make, and to show the world that this sector of the workforce deserves and demands respect.
Studies have shown that 70 percent of women who currently hold positions in occupational safety and health leadership roles started out in areas completely outside the realm of safety and health. This is in part because the positions that they sought were designed to scare women from having a go at them by the men who preceded them.
Support and Networking
Through many interviews and many studies, there is a consistent reckoning that successful women are preaching to the up and comers: “Find a mentor,” and to the current leaders: “Be a mentor!”
Working with associations to network with other professionals is a must. Moreover, those that have achieved success must pass that hard-won knowledge on to others. Those who seek this occupation as their future must attach themselves to an established professional and be open to learning from the uphill battles their predecessors have endured.
Although the challenges and obstacles from years past have diminished somewhat, there are still far too many out there. Only by growing this field with serious professionals dedicated to making a difference, can the culture make the positive turn it needs. In a study from Safety and Health magazine in September 2016, Rose McMurray stated about her work in the industry: “It’s a great profession. We need the next generation worrying about others and seeing their commitment to others, a way to make them safer”.
The encouragement and mentorship from women who lead in this industry have impacted many others who without it, may have chosen not to go in this field at all.
The consensus is clear: working with outreach programs, networking, and mentoring creates the support that the next generation needs to carry the torch and become successful. Coyle Group is dedicated to supporting women who are considering a career in health and safety, as well as organizations interested in expanding the representation of women in their leadership and workforce. In addition to our efforts, there are a number of other resources available around the web. We invite you to invest some of your time looking into them for education and motivation. Most importantly, if you have found success, give back to others. If you seek success, don’t hold back. Reach out and find a mentor.