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Philomena Byrne

Quantity Surveyor – Cairn Homes

Quantity Surveyor, Philomena Byrne, shares her experiences of working in the construction industry and why she is proud to be a woman working in the sector.

How important is a diverse and inclusive workplace for you?

In something as intensely collaborative as construction, it’s great to have access to so many different viewpoints and perspectives. A diverse and inclusive workforce allows team members to make themselves heard – all contributions and previous experiences are valued. It facilitates new ideas, fresh perspectives and an engaged workforce.

At Cairn, everybody plays their part in creating a positive work environment where all people feel they can be themselves, where we are supported and valued both for who we are as individuals and for our unique contributions.

How is inclusivity encouraged within your work?

Inclusivity is part of the culture, it’s promoted from the top down. At its core, there is a strong focus on people in the company – our team, partners, customers and the wider community – that helps bring a shared respect to how we interact with each other.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is a real area of focus for Cairn. One of the most recent initiatives was the establishment of an ED&I working group which includes over 20 representatives across the business. It is designed so employees can come together and identify and implement practical actions that supports people’s needs and allows for everyone’s voice to be heard.

I would say that construction is a great career option for anyone who likes working in a team and making an impact every day.

Have you been inspired by role models throughout your career journey?

Role models matter, particularly for women to inspire them to be more ambitious and aim higher. Seeing is believing. Construction offers so much opportunity for women. The industry is growing and needs more diverse talents to meet the needs of today’s construction projects.

Working at Cairn are some of the very best thought-driven leaders in our profession. Fergus McMahon, for example, who serves as Commercial Director of the Company has overseen the growth and strategy of our commercial team over this past few years.

Attaining the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland Fellowship is a true mark of distinction, it has been great to learn from him and develop the skills and acumen required to excel in this industry. Fergus has promoted a strong work ethic within our team and actively encouraged me to pursue further professional endeavours.

What would you say to a woman considering joining the construction industry?

I would say that construction is a great career option for anyone who likes working in a team and making an impact every day. There are lots of opportunities to grow and learn new skills not only around the technical aspect of building buildings but also business, communication and leadership.

Construction is challenging and diverse, every project offers something new which offers so many opportunities for learning and developing which always attracted me to a career in construction.

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