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Celebrating Avant's women in housebuilding: Marie Booth group commercial manager

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At Avant, we’re celebrating our super successful females who are leading the way in the housebuilding this International Women’s Day!

Our third and final Q&A, read the thoughts of our group commercial manager, Marie Booth, on what it’s like to be a woman in the housebuilding sector.

Q: Tell us about your typical working day

Marie Booth (MB): I’m not too sure as to whether a typical day exists in group commercial in Avant! My role is quite varied, and I have to be prepared to change and react to whatever the current business needs are. Part of my role as group commercial manager is to provide support and guidance to our regional commercial teams so my working day depends on what issues have arisen. This can be anything from working with IT to resolve system issues to collating data from the regions for the group directors. 

Every month I attend regional PFA meetings to discuss the latest costs for each development.  I also work collaboratively with my group counterparts in procurement and technical for all specification and house type changes and we meet every week to discuss what is currently in progress and changes that are planned for the future. 

I am in the early stages of starting a new project working with our learning and development department to help develop our new commercial academy within Avant which is keeping me pretty busy too.   

Q: What made you choose a career in the housebuilding sector? And what route did you take?

MB: To be honest, I guess I kind of fell into the housebuilding sector as a career.  I did A-Levels in sixth form at my local school and was pretty good at maths, I remember we had a careers computer software program where you keyed in your interests and the subjects you liked and it spat out career options. Quantity surveying was one of those. 

I went to Nottingham Trent University where I studied the BSc(Hons) degree in Quantity Surveying.  My introduction into housebuilding came through my year out in my degree.  I accepted a work placement at a housebuilder in the summer, and two months after starting the placement I was offered a permanent position and finished my degree on day release. 

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work part time after having my children, and last year I returned to work full time to take up the role as group commercial manager.  This year I will have been with Avant (in its many forms) for 23 years!

Q:What’s your view on equality in the sector? How have things evolved to be more inclusive for women at all levels?

MB: Things have definitely moved on since I started in the industry. When I was the first female surveyor in my first role 20 years ago, I was a bit of a novelty factor and definitely got a few odd looks when I first used to visit sites. It’s great to see that now we have many talented female QSs across our regional offices. 

I would like to hope that things continue to move in the right direction and more key senior positions throughout the industry are given on merit and not just gender.  I do believe there is still a gender pay gap especially at higher levels of the industry. Hopefully in the not too distant future there will be a realisation that if someone can do the job they should be paid accordingly regardless of sex.      

Q: What’s been your proudest moment, while working at Avant Homes?

MB: Getting the recognition and being promoted to be group commercial manager, being chosen to be part of the team that set the new Central region up and making it to 20 years long service was quite an achievement too! I also feel very proud when colleagues who I have trained in some way progress in their careers – I think it’s the mum in me!     

Q: What aspirations do you have for your career at Avant Homes moving forward?

MB: I’d like to make commercial director. It’s about time we had a woman in the role.

Q: What would your advice be to women considering a career in the housebuilding sector?

MB: Go for it!  If you want a career that is varied and challenging, one where you get to meet and interact with all manner of people, where you get the best of both worlds with a mix of being out and about and also an office job, then just go for it.  It’s never a dull day.



At Avant, we’re celebrating our super successful females who are leading the way in the housebuilding this International Women’s Day!