3 MAR 2020
Tammy Harrison-Round spoke with RICS about her challenges and successes in the profession and how Diversity and Inclusion was essential to support her throughout her career so far.
22 years ago I started working in the Quantity Surveying profession as a fresh faced apprentice and I’d like to tell you the industry was very different than it is today. In many ways following the emergence of the digital and internet era, yes it was, but from a diversity point of view, the steps we have made in my 22-year career have been small and slow. If those steps continue at this rate, there is a real concern we will not see the changes needed in unconscious bias, cultures and behaviours to really embrace diversity and meet the wealth and skills gap we need to support the industry. The numbers of women in engineering, construction and surveying are still woefully low and even less for returners, and whilst changes have been made, we still have a lot of work to do.
But the rate of change is just as much my fault. I accepted the way it was as much as everyone. It was only after starting my own family that I began to realise just how much of a juggling act I needed to perform to keep everything running smoothly. Having young children and working full time is not easy for anyone, male or female. The constant pulls in various directions the sleepless nights, the mental and emotional pressures and pulls and the guilt you feel as a working parent is immense. But even those without children face huge challenges based on individual unconscious biases. Something we should all seek to challenge.
Working for a company like Jacobs was a game changer for me. 13 years ago I joined the Quantity Surveying team in Manchester where they were already implementing flexible working, something that I hadn’t seen before in private consulting organisations at that time. There was always a stigma attached to leaving early despite you working all evening or getting in early – working late in the office meant working hard. At that time, my daughter was a year old and as she was my first child it was the first time I was experiencing the mental and emotional struggle between parenthood and working full time and started to feel like I needed to change careers. But at Jacobs it was a breath of fresh air. The culture of caring was already well developed in the team and it was clear the team leaders all agreed that family and home lives need to be satisfied for us all to be the best at our roles.
Finalist WICE Awards Best Women Quantity Surveyor 2018
Inclusive Leader Award 2019
Beyond Zero Health and Safety Manchester member
RICS APC Mentor
RICS APC Preliminary Assessor
I felt supported as both a parent and a professional QS and this gave me the confidence to pursue to Chartership. The RICS’ varied routes to professional membership meant that I gained entry onto the professional experience route. It was hard work and took a lot of commitment but with the support of the RICS mentoring and Jacobs internal coaching I was successful. I am now working towards an MSc in Business and Strategic leadership at Cranfield University, my children are 13 and 9 years old. I work flexibly to suit my home life and client requirements and the local Jacobs Networks, Mental Health Champions and our “Bridge the Gap” initiative which helps working parents in our business supporting our various roles. I feel supported in developing myself and growing my family and in turn this enabling business growth through the development of our people.
Our RICS members are a group of diverse individuals and therefore there will never be a one size fits all and as a profession we must continue to promote, protect and support an environment that fosters true diversity and inclusion in order to attract and retain the best talent and continually improve the service we provide to our clients.
No one should have to choose between family and career and so our businesses must step up and support our people and their families.
I will continually keep diversity and inclusion at the forefront of everything I do and be more responsible for making the rate of change faster and more effective. International Women’s Day is an essential driver for such activities and provides a day of reflection to celebrate how far we have come and to focus on what still needs to be done.