Bouygues Construction extends WeLink company network to APAC to empower women in industry

03 August 2022

WeLink APAC, a professional network for female employees of Bouygues Construction (BYCN) entities in the Asia Pacific region, was launched online with great success on 21 July 2022. The event marks a milestone for diversity & inclusion (D&I) within BYCN entities in the Asia Pacific as it empowers female employees with a powerful platform for career development in the traditionally male-dominated construction industry.

Bouygues Construction is a firm advocate of D&I with respect to ethnicity, gender, and disability, upholding the belief that differences can generate innovation and creativity, and ultimately increase productivity and business performance.

Over 750 participants attended the kick-off event from Bouygues organizations and affiliates in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Several top BYCN executives shared their experiences and insights on D&I and women in construction. WeLink APAC’s board members introduced the aims, ambitions, and objectives of the new platform. The launch also featured a motivational talk on women in leadership by guest speaker Ms Joanna Chin, Principal and Executive Coach of M4W Group.

Introducing WeLink APAC, Ms Sylvia Meerschaut, Regional HR Director Asia Pacific of Bouygues Construction, said the launch as a starting point of a collective journey to which everyone would contribute to make the Group  more attractive, inclusive, and diverse.  “WeLink is a network created several years ago within Bouygues Construction as part of our D&I principles for employees. It is an independent company network led by employees who have volunteered their time to build a positive work environment where employees can develop their potential and abilities.”

WeLink APAC brings the advantages of BYCN’s D&I initiatives to women employed in the group’s entities across the region. Representation of all regional BYCN entities – Dragages Hong Kong, Dragages Singapore, BYME Engineering Hong Kong, AW Edwards, Bouygues Construction Australia, Bouygues -Thai, VSL International make WeLink APAC enriches the regional network with diverse cultures and different types of entities and businesses.

Mr Philippe Jouy, Deputy CEO, Batiment France of Bouygues Construction, shared the trajectory of his own education in D&I, from lack of awareness in early career to advocacy for D&I in BYCN in mid- and later career.

“I passionately believe that gender balance brings performance,” he stressed that promoting gender balance is one of the group’s key priorities. The group and its entities set up the gender balance roadmap to increase the number of women in construction and Welink APAC follows the group strategy to promote development of female employees in the Asia Pacific region. In April 2022, the Bouygues group signed the Diversity charter in Paris, boosting its commitment to promoting diversity and fighting all forms of discrimination within the organisation.

“I am proud to be working for a group that is pushing diversity agenda in France and abroad. I am very pleased that WeLink is now extending its reach to the Asia Pacific, and I can assure the board members and all those of you who have joined WeLink APAC of my full support, and most importantly of the full support of Bouygues Construction,” he said.

A total of 52 percent of attendees of the WeLink APAC launch were female, from a variety of professions and career stages, with the rest being male. Ms Isabelle Dubois Wetterwald, Diversity & Inclusion Director of Bouygues Construction, said she was happy to see both men and women present at the launch. She invited participants to take ownership of WeLink Asia Pacific to make it a success.

Several APAC representatives of WeLink board members defined the aims, objectives, and ambitions for their new platform:  Six objectives provide the foundation for all WeLink APAC activities: Empowering females to take up leadership roles; promoting technical skills development; increasing membership to broaden and enhance attractiveness of the knowledge bank; empowering females to perform efficiently in their roles, have confidence and overcome common career obstacles, and the creation of a roadmap to increase awareness of available opportunities and the value placed on women in construction.

WeLink APAC will be a powerhouse that females in BYCN entities can turn to for assistance, ranging from gender diversity to skills advice, sharing and collaboration and building solidarity among female employees across the region. Members can connect with specific individuals or the broader group to collaborate on projects or to share or request knowledge, guidance, and information required to achieve their full potential personally and professionally.

In the days to come, WeLink APAC will continue to make the Group more attractive to high-performing future female talent and thus benefit the sector by motivating more women to embrace careers in construction.