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Omnium’s Mercedes Carrillo interviewed for Women In Construction feature

19th February 2019

Omnium is committed to the promotion of women in the construction sector, with key members of our team leading projects on major developments including Dubai Hills Estate, Expo 2020 and Dubai Creek Harbour.

Following on from Luz Villacan’s feature article last year, our Dispute Services division’s Senior Claims Consultant Mercedes Carrillo was delighted to be asked to take part in Middle East Consultant’s latest interview about the opportunities and challenges facing women working in construction in the Middle East.

Mercedes’ influences

Mercedes is strongly influenced by infrastructure and the positive impact it can have on people’s quality of life. She chose to pursue civil engineering as a career which would afford her great satisfaction, making a difference to society and leaving a legacy. Having developed a keen interest in the commercial management of construction and in particular the resolution of disputes, Mercedes progressed her career first in Brussels and then in the Middle East where she has worked on notable projects including Qatar’s New Orbital Highway and Abu Dhabi’s Midfield Terminal Building.

Mercedes Carrillo's feature in Women In Construction.

Mercedes Carrillo's feature in Women In Construction.

Mercedes Carrillo's interview for Women In Construction.

Mercedes Carrillo's interview for Women In Construction.

Barriers to women entering the construction sector

In her interview, Mercedes acknowledges that the construction industry does present barriers to some of those choosing to enter the sector, but that these are not exclusive to women and in fact age can present more of a barrier than gender. “I’ve always thought that construction is an industry that fosters seniority over investing in the new generations…To enter the sector being young and inexperienced, regardless of gender is the real challenge.”

Changes to the industry in the Middle East

Commenting on how the sector is changing, Mercedes says:

“Women are increasingly becoming interested in the career opportunities the construction sector has to offer, yet diversity is not growing homogenously within the industry. I believe that if we persist in pushing boundaries and raising awareness of the diverse opportunities and roles available in the sector, diversity in construction will continue to increase in the coming years.”

Looking to the future

In her interview, Mercedes highlights the important role that governments have to play in encouraging equality and ensuring that employment opportunities are open to everyone, as well as of course the crucial commitment by employers to promote diversity, offer fair salaries and remuneration and to allow for better work-life balance for everyone, irrespective of gender.

Women must also seize opportunities too: “I believe that women themselves have an important role to play in addressing these issues. Women can often put restrictions on themselves and are guilty of not placing as high a value on themselves as their male counterparts would.”

Mercedes’ role within Omnium and how the business has supported her career development

Equal opportunities is at the heart of Omnium’s values, and we take great pride in caring genuinely about the careers of all of our people. Mercedes comments:

“I don’t think there are any limitations for women in Omnium. I’ve enjoyed an exceptional level of autonomy and am proud to be the most senior female member of the claims team that Omnium has ever had. I’ve always felt that the organisation appreciates hard work, irrespective of gender

In Omnium, women currently represent approximately one quarter of the workforce, which is higher than the industry standard. In the claims department, we go a step further – 50% of our team are female.”

Thank you to Middle East Consultant for featuring Mercedes, and thank you Mercedes for taking part in this insightful and topical interview.

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