Elinor Moshe is an ambitious and driven leader and dedicated mentor in the construction industry. Her passion to assist future leaders and industry professionals to propel their career lead to her founding the successful platform, The Construction Coach. Elinor has been featured in the Australian National Construction Review, Property Council of Australia's Top 500 Women in Property programme 2019, Top 100 Women in Construction, and is frequently an industry speaker and panellist.
We were delighted to chat with her as part of our International Women’s Day blog series to ask how she got started in Construction, how she got to where she is now and her thoughts on the number of women in the construction industry.
So Elinor, can you tell us how you started your career in the industry?
It was first year second semester of my Master’s in Construction Management that I had to partner up with someone else in class for a presentation. It eventuated that we were standing outside in a group and I asked the person next to me if she wanted to work together. She was working for a small builder-developer at the time, who were hiring. I rejected the first offer to go in for an interview as I was going overseas at the end of the year. A few weeks later she told me to just go in for a chat, so I did, and was offered a position. I vividly remember being up in the law library of the University of Melbourne when I got the call that I was being offered a salary-position. It was one of the rare times I had been speechless! So, my first industry position was as a Project Coordinator. Onwards and upwards from thereon in. Before all that however, I had to discover my passion, because without that, nothing aligns.
What advice would you give to people wanting to join/move into the industry?
Start arming yourself with insight and information as to the macro and the micro of the industry and how this then translates into your career. Formal academic training is not a requirement or investment to commence your career in construction. Making this information and insight public is one of the fundamental reasons I founded The Construction Coach, because there was a lack of worthy information and foundational material available. It’s why I run workshops, events and mentoring services around this transition because it can be confusing and plagued with uncertainty at best. I would also recommend people don’t enter the industry purely for the financial reward, because whilst that may be attractive at first, it won’t matter if the work is not aligned with your passion. Understanding your why is imperative to have longevity in this industry.
Who do you think are the leading employers when it comes to diversity?
First, it’s employers who don’t see gender as a qualification, and do not project biases onto an individual. It’s employers who support high performance, continuous learning and growth, and who look to develop an individual far beyond their technical capacity. It’s companies who look to work smarter, and not harder. These companies attract and retain best talent, which is not homogenous in nature. It’s not just diversity in conventional demographics that matter anymore, it’s diversity in mindsets, values and thinking frameworks which matter.
From your experience over the years, is there a noticeable gender pay gap within the construction industry?
To answer this question based on statistics, the WGEA confirms there is a 22.0% pay gap in base salaries in 2019. This is significant, not just in the immediate remuneration, but consequential effects over one’s lifetime earnings potential. That percentage applied year on year results in hundreds of thousands of lost earning potential. However, I have also seen professionals, at differing levels in their career simply out-earn the competition based on the immense value they bring to an organization, because of who they are. This surpasses technical aptitude and experience. This comes from an intense amount of professional and personal development outside of work which increases the value proposition of an individual, and in turn, over time, the attractiveness of their salary.
Through your Construction Coach mentorship programme, can you comment on the number of women in construction roles and the pace at which this is growing? What can we do to support this?
When I first sat in a lecture in 2013 at University, there were 10 women in the room. When I’ve gone back to lecture over the recent semesters, it’s been closer to 50/50 in some instances. The pipeline isn’t translating into management roles however, due to the structural inadequacies of the industry. There are companies who are at the forefront of implementing policies, practices and cultures which accommodate for the individual and business goals. Individuals also have a responsibility to have more open, formative conversations with their employers, and for employers to listen without prejudice and bias.
As for my business, I do have an increasing number of women seeking individualized mentoring to assist in navigating the landscape of the industry, which is great. We can all have more open, realistic conversations about the industry to not just garner awareness, but to also be part of the think tank that generates solutions. People can also learn to widen their worldview and to not see the industry as it currently is, but what it could be. The churning over of the issues are not the discussions people should be having anymore.
If you are looking to propel your career in construction and would like to work with Elinor, head to theconstructioncoach.com.au to apply for private mentoring programmes. The Construction Coach also offers a weekly blog, peer-to-peer networking groups and events. Subscribe to be part of a community like no other in the building industry.