Shawmut celebrated Women in Construction Week last week, marked by virtual celebrations nationwide that highlighted the continuously increasing representation of women in the industry, especially at Shawmut.

Shawmut’s entry-level construction management team is 44% female—more than five times the industry average of 8% in construction manager roles—and 24% of leadership roles are held by women. Because of Shawmut’s commitment to the growth and diversity of its workforce, it is in the unique position to deliver teams at whatever extent of representation a client requests, including all-women project teams, such as the one that built JBL’s SoHo flagship in New York.

“We’re pleased to be an industry leader in our diversity, equity, and inclusion work, which is a result of creating actionable and intentional efforts,” said Les Hiscoe, CEO, Shawmut Design and Construction. “As an industry, it’s critical to operationalize this work to break the cycle and affect real, lasting change.”

Among the actions is the establishment of and commitment to 100% pay and promotion equity. In 2019, Shawmut proactively engaged a law firm to review all compensation elements, including a complete salary audit.  Areas of inequity were rectified and are continuously reviewed and adjusted, with additional rigor employed to define strong performance, articulate promotion readiness, and pay transparency.

The firm leads the industry in sponsorship relationships, pairing high-potential, underrepresented employees with executive sponsors. These relationships facilitate the sharing of knowledge and expertise to bolster an employee’s career aspirations, with the goal of promotion to the leadership team. The first round of sponsorship relationships saw 95% retention—50% were promoted during the 18-month relationship, 30% were promoted to the senior leadership team, and 100% reported increased feelings of engagement.

Most recently, Shawmut launched task forces to increase outreach to Minority, Woman, and Local Business Enterprises (MWLBE). The company’s New York team launched AMP (Amplifying MWLBE Partners) to drive awareness and action, including strategies to identify new opportunities and grow existing ones to engage women-owned businesses.

Shawmut’s company-wide Diversity Leadership Council (DLC) has also been enhanced by newly-established Regional Diversity Leadership Councils, comprised of over 70 members nationwide and developed with inclusion and belonging in mind, allowing for easier access to resources through established interactions and relationships. 

The Council advises the executive leadership team and drives the strategy and execution of processes supporting a culture of belonging and inclusivity. The DLC has partnered with Deloitte Human Capital and Catalyst to build awareness of unconscious bias, improve managerial, promotion, and mentorship systems, and use data to establish accountability—creating a strategic framework to advance toward workplace equity.

“While there’s still more work to be done in our journey, I am so proud of our team at Shawmut—on every level—for the continuous work to bring us closer to a more diverse and inclusive company and world,” concluded Hiscoe.

During Women in Construction Week, Shawmut hosted virtual, employee-led sessions, including the Opening Ceremony with remarks from Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Karyn Polito, CEO Les Hiscoe, and NAWIC Boston president Jen DeAmicis; guest speakers from Watershed Partners, FXCollaborative, and Mac Felder Plumbing; and interactive panels, including women leaders from Caesars, DBRDS, and Pineapple Procurement.