Women in manufacturing: Enthusiasm and empathy go a long way in facilities management

12th July 2021

Recent statistics show that women make up around 48% of the UK workforce. (br) But in the manufacturing sector, the proportion is just 27%.

In a recent article for i-fm.net to mark World FM Day on 12 May, Ann Gent, ENGIE’s Operations Director, shares her career highlights and discusses how she’d love to see more women bring their particular talents and aptitudes to this thriving and diverse sector.

“A job like this is all about people.” Ann observes. “No matter how technical the contract, people are at the heart of everything. Regardless of the skills they bring, they all value empathy, clear communication and engagement from managers and colleagues. If you communicate well with your team, if you’re supportive, if you share information and best practice, they will support you and go that extra mile. All teams thrive on good relationships and emotional support, and this is a particular strength that women bring to team management – an ability to connect with individuals to get the best out of everyone.”

“Good communication goes a long way too. Even when things go wrong – as they will – open and honest communication is essential to strengthen relationships and build trust with clients. Keeping people informed and communicating regularly helps everyone to understand issues clearly and resolve them more quickly.”

Ann explains she’s only had positive experiences in her role, despite being the only women in a team of men. “I’m treated as an equal and as one of the team.” Ann explains. “Of course, there is banter with my peers on a daily basis. But that is part of the opportunity, as I see it, to connect with colleagues and build working relationships. I do my best to join in with the latest football and golfing conversations! But I also bring my own perspectives and interests to the conversation, which enriches the working environment for everyone.”  

Noting the huge opportunity to grow the number of women leaders in the manufacturing industry, Ann supports the desire in the sector to improve its diversity. 

“I feel women in similar roles to mine would be welcomed and encouraged, and I for one do as much as I can to promote the industry to women and highlight the opportunities it offers. For the future, there is nothing stopping women in this industry – with interest and enthusiasm, you can go a long way.” She concludes.

Read the full article on i-fm.net here