Urban Core hits equality milestone in male-dominated industry

by Helena Morgan
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Gender pay gap figures released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) were made public today for the first time, and have prompted many to question how and why pay inequity lingers. 

However, female-led and founded commercial construction company Urban Core instead celebrates a major win for equality of representation in a traditionally patriarchal workforce, and serves as a reminder that change is possible, and crucial. 

Urban Core has seen in the new year with a long-awaited achievement that founder Dominique Gill confirms is symptomatic of the epoch – more than half of its staff are female. 

Never about satisfying the diversity quota

Gill established Urban Core in 2016 after feeling immobilised and frustrated by the archaic and inflexible workplace practices in construction, and the lack of inclusion towards women in the industry. 

Championing a company ethos of sustainability, diversity, safety and the development of ‘strong and lasting’ partnerships, Urban Core shines as a head contractor for clients such as CBRE, John Holland, Investa, Crown Hotels, and Cushman and Wakefield.

Gill was determined to reach a company composition of 40 percent women – a figure now surpassed – and avoid initiatives and targets that seek to insincerely fulfil the diversity checkbox by ‘purple washing.’

“A target was never box checking,” says Gill. “It was about being on the lookout for the best candidates and finding them first.”

The company relied on strategic and inclusive hiring processes in scouting recent high school or tertiary education graduates and women in adjacent industries heading up both executive and entry-level positions. 

Gill says that those who jumped on board Urban Core were reportedly undermined, underappreciated and marginalised at other organisations.

Accolades and making equal representation history 

Urban Core also boasts impressive growth and development since its inception in 2016 – from the Australian Financial Review naming the company a Fast Starter in its infancy stages, to now having awards and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of projects in the pipeline.

“The inside of our offices looks like the world outside it – that shouldn’t be groundbreaking anymore,” says Gill.

“Ultimately, our builds are going to be used by all kinds of people, and our staff should understand where they come from.”

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