If you work on construction sites in London, chances are you may have already seen Lauren around.
Lauren is a land surveyor from Murphy Surveys who works with clients all over London, in and around construction sites. After graduating university with a Geography degree, Lauren launched her career in surveying and her passion for the industry has grown every day since.
Lauren is a STEM ambassador and volunteers for Design, Engineer and Construct (DEC), she’s also involved in the ‘Get Kids Into Survey’ initiative, spreading the word about surveying to the youth of today.
Lauren manages her day to day life as a working surveyor onsite with visiting schools and she’s also a female role model for other women in the industry and is passionate about raising the awareness of surveying.
Please tell us a little bit about your company and the work you do as a surveyor.
I work for Murphy Surveys, the leading geospatial land and engineering survey company in the UK and Ireland. I am lucky enough to be part of the Monitoring department, spending most of my days on construction sites using a Leica TM50 (total station) to monitor for structural movement. This type of work means that every day I am on a different site, no two days are ever the same.
The rest of my day is spent in the office processing the measurements and creating a report for the client. These findings are vital in supporting our clients decision making and in providing assurance that the structure is safe. I also represent the company at industry events, where I get to talk about surveying as well as connect with like minded individuals.
How do you maintain your and your team’s daily motivation and inspiration despite obstacles, push-back or setbacks?
I am a very positive person and even if I am feeling worried I will try and turn it around quite quickly. Especially when things happen out of your control you need to realise that you have tried your best, and that if you take a breath, get a cup of tea or water and talk it out with someone, you will resolve an issue quicker than getting stressed.
I am always making sure that the people I’m working with are happy and have time listen to everything they have to say, I will go out my way to make sure that we are working well as a team. This automatically brings everyone’s morale up and if a difficult situation arises, we can get through it quicker and with less stress. Sometimes all it takes is something as simple as smiling and cracking some bad jokes to motivate everyone to keep going and work hard.
What has driven your passion for diversity in your industry / sector?
At one point I was so sick of being whistled at and men making comments as I would walk by, I even had a few comments about how I’ve taken away jobs from men. I was nearly tempted to change my career, it was very overwhelming.
But I realised that I could put being a woman in a male dominated industry to use. I am lucky that in Murphy Surveys we are 24% female, which is amazing and it’s a norm round here to see females everywhere. I thought to myself, how can I improve the numbers of females on site? So, I became a STEM ambassador and have started going into schools to talk about surveying to show that not only do men work in this industry, but we can wear a hard hat and steel toe caps too. Now when I walk by and men stare, I stand up high and feel proud that I am part of making a change for the future of women in the industry.
How can networking and support organisations help the next generation of surveyors on their way up?
I feel it is very important for the next generation of surveyors to network, it not only helps you meet other like minded people in the industry but also gives you confidence. For me it was a little daunting attending my first networking event, but everyone is friendly and has been in your position and someone will come over and say hello. Usually events are full of people of all ages, which gives you an opportunity to learn from those with experience and listen if they have any advice. You can also learn a lot about how the industry is moving, especially with innovation and technology as well which is very beneficial for your future within the industry.
Top advice to those starting out?
Get experience! There is nothing more valuable within surveying than experience (in my opinion). If you are still studying, go out in your summer or Easter break and get some experience. Whether you get paid or not it will look great on your CV and help you decide if this is the right career path for you. Also carry a notepad and pen everywhere you go, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Everyone has had to start from the beginning and will have an understanding of what it feels like to be new to a career. As much as I would love everyone to become a surveyor, one of the most important things in life is working in a job you love. Follow your heart and go with a career where you look forward to getting up and going to work every day.
What does the surveying profession mean to you?
Did you know that surveying dates back nearly 3000 years? The Egyptians were surveyors! The surveying profession means a lot to me, it is not only my job but a passion.
I always look at a building once it has finished and think about how it would not be there without a surveyor. Surveyors are very very important people, you cannot dig without a utility survey, measure and create a floorplan, 3d model etc without a surveyor. Not many people realise that everywhere they go and things they do would not be there without surveyors, and this is why I am trying to help everyone understand how valuable we are.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Grab every opportunity that comes your way and say yes to as much as you can. I have always felt that most big opportunities are out my comfort zone, but that’s what makes It more rewarding. Never say ‘’I can’t’’ you must always try, and at least if you fail you have tired your absolute hardest. This way you will look back on your life with less regrets and less what ifs.
A lot of people say I am so chatty, and I talk to everyone, (which I do) but you just don’t know who you will meet. For example, you could speak to the person in front of you in the line at a supermarket, and they could mention they are an architect then that opens up a job possibility or future contact.
You just have to always think why not?
Go for everything you can and as long as you have passion, it will drive you to success.
LinkedIn: Lauren Holland
Twitter: Lauren Holland