Huge projects like Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the high-speed railway to Guangzhou are under a crisis: they lack skills in construction labor for years. This has led recruitment firm Manpower to find more engineers, casting its net wider to target women workers as well.
This is how we met Sonia, 23 years old, an on-site assistant surveyor.
In her class of 90 students, only 20 were girls. She joined the field two years ago after getting her associate degree. Work was quite easy to find after graduation because of the demand.
She is making a close amount to HK$20,000 a month. That is one key attraction, other than a clear career path and good promotion for young women to enter the profession. The job security is also not a problem, since most big projects last at least four to five years.
At work, being the only woman in her department, she uses that uniqueness to her edge – male colleagues are quite willing to take care of her, as long as she is polite and keeps a smile. Her greatest struggle, however, is the dirty and dusty work environment. Women aren’t usually exposed to them so it is quite an adjustment.
Other than that, there isn’t much that women cannot do in the construction site. She is a proud engineer and she performs – that is what matters. Who gives a damn that she is a woman?