In our final interview we talk to Tim Metcalfe and team (pictured) at Pollard Thomas Edwards about their 50/50 workplace. Here’s what they had to say:
Natasha: How would you describe the culture in your office when it comes to gender equality?
All: We see gender equality as the norm in our office. We take that precedent from above as we see gender equality in all our leadership teams.
All: I think that we’re subconsciously aware that our office is an equal place to work for men and women because we see the 50/50 split right through the company.
All: We don’t treat men, women or anyone for that matter differently. Everyone is equally respected.
Natasha: How does your company support women and men returning to work after parental leave?
Sarah Eastham, Associate: I am a Mum of two children and when they were younger, I only worked during school term-time so that I could be with my kids. I wanted that balance and I don’t think you can expect to rise through the ranks as quickly if you take a lot of time off.
(To the men in the room)
Natasha: How does your company treat paternity leave? Would you feel comfortable sharing parental leave with your partner?
Michael Olapoju, Architectural Designer:
In the UK, generally with regards to the working/ or professional culture, the feeling I get is that men are expected to work (i.e. be providers) and the women to nurture, and raise the children. I guess it’s also dependent on the respective salaries etc. Other cultures around the world don’t put the same emphasise on the home work balance, I think it boils down to practicalities.
Eric Bull: It makes total sense for men and women to share parental leave. In order to be able to afford to buy a house, men and women both need a good income, particularly in a city like London.
Natasha: How would you feel about being the primary care giver if you had a child?
Peter Watkins: I would definitely like to do it as my girlfriend has a really good job and I would be happy to look after a child, I might be a bit concerned about what my friends down the pub would think however.
Natasha: Would you feel confident asking about maternity or paternity leave in a job interview?
Eric Bull: No, I would be hesitant to ask about that in an interview. Competition for jobs is so fierce that I wouldn’t want to ask this question
Tim Metcalfe: I think it’s the responsibility of the employer to tell the interviewee about paternity/maternity /parental leave policies at any company. It is not up to a prospective employee to ask that question.
Natasha: What does it mean to you working in 50/50 equal company?
Hayley: For me, being in an environment where men and women are treated equally means that input into projects is also equal. The more input you have, the more creative you are as a company because you have a broad range of opinions. PTE is a workplace where ‘all opinions are valid’ and we couldn’t be successful if we had just one stream of thought.
Natasha: What makes you most proud of working in a gender equal environment?
Rebecca: It’s really inspiring to see generations of 50/50 equal working. The senior women are really good at their jobs and that’s inspiring. I’m proud because it’s so normal. We don’t have to think about it
Michael: I’m most proud of the transparency that equality in our workplace creates. We know there’s equal pay and equal opportunities, it’s a great working environment.
Sarah Eastham, Associate
Tim Metcalfe, Associate: Communications Manager
Michael Olapoju, Architectural Designer
Hayley Jordan, Architect
Rebecca Sexton, Architect
Rebecca Lee, Architect
Eric Bull, Senior Architect
Peter Watkins, Associate
Some facts on the architectural profession:
Architecture courses have 50/50 male/female intake
Number of qualified female architects in the profession: 22-24%
Number of women in senior positions in the profession:12%