Ventia employees Sophie Pratt, Erin Flannery and Emma Wright pictured

Moving from the construction industry into property for Project Manager Sophie Pratt was as much about increased flexibility as it was learning new skills. 

'The fast paced and demanding nature of the construction industry can be challenging for all parents, particularly those who have the responsibility of being the primary carer," Sophie says.

"Early starts, after hour programs, weekend work and the need to be onsite makes it very difficult to juggle family life without a lot of support from both family and the companies we work for."

The Property Workplace Solutions team, with members in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, is more than 50% female, with many of the Project Managers in the team having small children. 


Ensuring gender diversity from the top

Program Leader Erin Flannery says that the tone has definitely been set from the top, with Head of Projects & Workplace Solutions Nathan Munro ensuring gender diversity is a priority during recruitment. 

"Our hiring managers will always ask for at least one woman in the shortlist for any role," Erin says. "I think that is one reason why our team has great diversity." 

The reason women stick around once they're hired is just as important though, Erin notes. 

Nathan has kids himself and he participates in their activities, in dropping them at school and picking them up. He understands the need for flexibility when you're a working parent, and that is reflected in the culture we've built in the team.

Sophie says that the team's clients are supportive of this flexible approach, as they are looking for that in their own workplaces. 

Emma Wright manages sustainability projects for the team, and has recently returned from parental leave, now working part time. The demands of a busy team leader require good time management skills, particularly when you are working part time. 

"I didn't know this kind of role even existed when I was studying conservation ecology at university," Emma says. "I always wanted to work in the environment sector as a kid, from when my grandpa and I used to go to the beach and explore the contents of rock pools."

The work I do now to educate clients on being environmentally responsible and assist them on their sustainability journey is very rewarding. It's a dynamic environment with continually changing policies and legislation. I really enjoy the challenge.

Sophie studied event management as she dreamed of managing sporting events but following a job in administration at UGL she moved into construction and project management. 

"I like to say that projects are like one big event that you have to run," Sophie says. "You bring all the different elements together into a successful launch." 

Ventia employees Sophie Pratt, Emma Wright and Erin Flannery pictured

Project Manager Sophie Pratt, Sustainability Director Emma Wright and Program Leader Erin Flannery, left to right


A holistic approach to recruitment

General Manager Property Martin Grounsell says that he finds people come from all sectors and industries to work in Property, and that for his team there is a focus on recruiting from within the Ventia business. 

"What this means is that you get people come from frontline roles or from our call centres, for example, and they show a lot of promise, so we train them in all the things they need to know to be successful in all aspects of the business including property, facilities, and project management," he says. 

It's important to me that we not hire simply on education or specific experience. I want to know if they have the right values and behaviours, how do they fit the ethos of being a team player? I am big into giving people opportunity.

"The best qualifications in the world don't always mean someone is right for our business."

Find out more about what we do in the Property sector at Ventia here