Women in Construction Series: Featuring Roxanne Espiritu
As a senior site QS, I love that my job doesn’t limit my learning to paperwork and the office. It lets me experience site operation and quantity surveying firsthand.
Roxanne Espiritu was looking for her next job as an aspiring professional when she discovered SDW had an opening for a Senior Quantity Surveyor. “I was still in the province working for a private construction company as a project engineer. I was looking forward to returning to Manila after having some time to breathe when the epidemic hit. One of the firms I’ve seen people apply for is SDW. I browsed its website and what impressed me is that the executives are composed of both locals and foreign nationals.”
Roxanne has worked for six years since graduating from Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. She has worked at four different construction companies. She is one of SDW’s notable women in construction who, despite the difficult job in a male-dominated work environment, has excelled and proven herself.
Let’s get to know Roxanne as we asked her some questions about her work and construction.
What does your job entail?
As a Senior Quantity Surveyor on site, one of the most critical aspects of my job is to check that the scope of work being implemented by the operating team is right and following our contract. These include the location, quantity, and cost of each activity. And because our company engages other subcontractors to complete some of our jobs, I also need to analyze their performance and certify their billings. Finally, we must prepare our monthly billing claim, containing all necessary documentation.
What is the best part of your job?
As an engineer with experience in site operation and office work, I would say that one of the best parts of my job as senior site QS is that it does not limit my learning to paperwork only and on the four corners of the office. It allows me to explore and experience firsthand the correlation between site operation and quantity surveying work. It also challenges my knowledge and ability to work effectively with the two different construction departments, the operation site team, and the commercial team. They are very different in many ways but also very connected. This kind of work setup improves my negotiating skills and allows me to immerse myself in varying levels of understanding.
Do you like working with SDW?
In my more than three months with the organization, I would say that one of the benefits is having an environment that encourages you to speak English. It enables me to gain confidence and improve my communication abilities.
What has been the most memorable moment working with SDW?
My daily experience in the company is, I believe, memorable. Every day is different, adding to my recollections of the company. My regular conversations with coworkers or managers, whether at work or during breaks. Those days appear to repeat themselves or when nothing happens. Those days, I don’t say much since I have a lot on my plate. It is also how they make you feel significant as a team member and how they make you feel during those demanding schedules and submittals. Those are the things that will remain.
What personal qualities help you be pleasing in your job?
Listening with analysis is one of my skills that gives me an advantage over others. Next, I am not scared to make decisions and hold myself accountable. Humility, as well as an understanding that learning is a never-ending process, has greatly assisted me.
Who inspires you?
My family, like others, is what keeps me going. My ambition is to provide them with a comfortable lifestyle and enable other family members to realize their dreams.
I didn’t picture myself working in industries other than construction. I believe it is my professional calling and that I was born to do it. My manner of thinking, desire to construct things, and create solutions are all aspects of who I am.
What are the advantages of being a woman in construction? What are the disadvantages?
One of the advantages of being a woman in the industry is that they will assume you are organized and good at documentation because it is typically reserved for women. However, I must say that sometimes it is also a downside because they will limit your role to that and will give the more physically demanding activities to men. For this reason, there is no equal opportunity for both genders.
What is the biggest challenge of being a woman working in construction?
As a woman in the industry, aside from the fact that it is mentally and physically exhausting, it is a great challenge to prove that we are equally capable as male engineers. Not only in terms of strength but also in effectiveness on site or in office work, intellectual or physical, in management or operation.
How do you handle the pressure?
When there is the pressure at work, I try my best to stay calm and intellectual. For me, this is how it works. I need to stay focused. Keep attention to the details, then work it out.
What advice do you give a young woman entering the industry?
I would encourage those young ladies who want to pursue a career in the construction industry to do so because it is an adventure. It is very challenging and fun but exhausting at the same time. So I think for you to be able to enjoy one thing, you must love it. I mean not only in construction but in general. So yeah, if you think you are passionate about this industry, go for it.
How do you think construction can attract more female candidates?
I think the construction industry itself is very attractive. It is so inviting for those people that are interested in joining. I mean, it is mentally, physically, and socially challenging. There is no need to convince the girls to be part of it. We need to expose and educate the younger generation about it so that they will appreciate and see how beautiful it is.
I am proud that my professional career is in the construction industry, mainly because being a female engineer is something to be proud of, and I am doing what I love.
What do you think is the most important change happening in the construction industry?
As construction advances, we could see more and more women in the industry becoming normal. The industry is embracing female potential and contribution. Both men and women are now working together with the same responsibilities and accountabilities.
In this day and age, women are more empowered. Women holding positions in a male-dominated industry gets more common. Get to know more about SDW’s women in construction here.