As a successful female leader in the field, Grace Kilbride has overcome many challenges and has valuable advice to share with other women who aspire to pursue a career in the electrical contracting industry. In this interview, we will explore her journey, experiences, and perspectives on gender diversity in the workplace.
What inspired you to pursue a career in electrical contracting, and how did you get started in the industry?
Initially, I was working as an estate agent. After a while, I knew I wanted to move on. Then, I found this job at Elite Electrical and fell in love. I love training the apprentices, seeing them through their schoolwork and watching them grow.
What challenges have you faced as a woman working in the electrical contracting industry, and how have you overcome them?
It is very obvious that it is a male-dominated industry, so there have been times when I have had to stand my ground. There have been times when I felt like I had to defend my position as a worker. We only have three women working for our company out of the 50 total employees, including myself. However, we are slowly seeing more and more women come into and contribute to the industry, which is refreshing to see.
What are some of the most significant barriers facing women in the electrical contracting industry, and how can they be addressed?
The stigma, definitely. There have been times when I’ve walked into meetings and people are shocked. However, this is only a result of the stigma society has fostered; it is this stigma that discourages young girls from pursuing careers in this field.
Have you seen any changes in the industry in terms of gender diversity and representation over the course of your career? If so what have those changes been?
Over the last year or two, it is definitely starting to become more 50/50 in terms of men and women. It’s becoming more normal to see women on-site, rather than surprising. The same goes for managerial roles, lots of women are taking that step and no one is longer surprised. A woman working in the electrical industry was unheard of back in the day. But now, when you see a woman on-site in a hi-vis and helmet, people are more accepting.
How can companies and organisations in the electrical contracting industry better support and encourage women to pursue careers?
There needs to be a change in how these jobs are portrayed in the media and in schools. The majority of the photos used when applying for jobs in this field and others like it, are men. Women would be less reluctant to pursue a career in this field if there was more female representation in these advertisements.
Have you had any female role models or mentors in the industry, and if so, how have they impacted your career?
Not really. The role that I do at the moment. Third person to do the job. Trained not to buy a woman. The ladies who work for the company are very strong, independent, women.
Finally, what advice would you give to other women interested in pursuing a career in electrical contracting, but may need more time due to the perceived barriers to entry?
Follow your dreams. If that’s what you want to do, do it. Remember that you are just as capable as a man, so don’t be afraid and believe in your abilities.
Elite Electrical Contractors
Elite Electric Contracting provides high-quality electrical services in and around London. We are a well-known, reputable, and respected business with a presence in Surrey that specialises in providing unique electrical solutions to businesses. We are leaders in the industry who won’t accept anything less than perfection. Check out our Instagram, to stay up to date with us.