In the construction industry, Georgia Bergers MRICS stands out. It’s not simply because women are traditionally underrepresented in the field, it’s because she thrives on seeing people succeed against the status quo.
“Not that this outweighs the thrill of project delivery” she says. In fact, she says it’s one of the most satisfying parts of being in the construction sector. “Seeing the tangible results of your work is deeply satisfying – knowing that you are part of the team that is building the city you love makes construction one of the most fulfilling careers.”
After nearly a decade working in project management consultancy in London, UK, Georgia now leads Partnerships & Field Marketing for HammerTech, a safety and quality operations software platform, on a mission to change the state of safety in construction globally. “It deeply bothers me that we have high incident rates in construction,” said Georgia. “We all have a role in reducing it.”
The firm’s technology digitizes General Contractor’s field processes such as permits, equipment, delivery bookings and daily reports and improves collaboration with subcontractors. Process-driven digital platforms create transparency and data-driven insight. This ultimately drives accountability, which she believes is critical to creating safer and more efficient work environments.
The work Georgia is doing as one of RICS’ new Americas Board members taps into her concern for the people who work in the built environment.
There is a notable skills gap in the construction market, as fewer young people are going into the field and demand to keep up with industry growth surges ahead. As the current, mostly white, building workforce approaches retirement, firms are recognizing the need to actively appeal to younger people and wider people demographics more than they traditionally did. In other words, firms are fomenting a new focus on people.
“RICS works within an industry that is inherently diverse,” she said. “Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is one of the board initiatives I’m pleased is a priority item. We want to see inclusive business practices become the norm in order to make entering and remaining in the profession easier. Research tells us that diverse teams out-perform homogenous teams both in terms of critical reasoning capacity and profit results. Happier and more diverse employees are simply good business and will help to create cities that are built for everyone.”
“Practices in the EU have changed largely by virtue of progressive legislation and indices like the UK’s National equality index,” she said, “and we can adapt global best practice like this for the Americas and it’s local markets. One thing the U.S. has that is driving change is its dynamic startup culture.”
While not without similar D&I issues to traditional companies, PropTech and ConTech startups—like HammerTech—are testing new models of hiring and people practices. Coupled with their willingness to employ new software and hardware to help employees excel, the competition for talent is heating up. She hopes this competition will propel organizations like RICS and built-environment businesses to modernize and put people first and to re-boot interest in RICS chartered career paths like project management and valuations.
If you are looking for an opportunity to grow your network in the Americas, are curious about ConTech or are passionate about D&I in the built environment professions, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect on LinkedIn.