Lauren Holland, a London-based land surveyor - landing her dream job and making waves for more women in the industry
On this episode of This is a Man’s World, She Who Dares Wins Podcast, our guest is Lauren Holland, a London-based land surveyor. While pursuing a degree in geography from Aberystwyth University in Wales, she realized that her love for the outdoors and her experience in 3D modeling classes could translate to a job as a land surveyor. She emailed a surveyor based in Wembley after a quick Google search and asked them if she could intern there for free. They obliged, and Lauren soon after fell in love with the trade.
Working in the glass industry, Lauren’s father warned her that there are few women in the land surveying industry. She was exposed to this truth going to family days at her father’s work. Though uncomfortable at times, she has grown to own her work and defend that she has as much right to be at the site as any man. Lauren laments the unfair treatment and attention she gets working in the industry. The first company she worked at was more or less technologically behind, but he learned to do the work by hand. This experience gave her an understanding of the fundamentals, so she is able to easily adapt to any new instruments used in the field.
Lauren began her social media career by posting photos on LinkedIn. A photo of her carrying her kit through Central London got 250 thousand views. She tries to balance the professional side and personal side, which has become difficult as her presence has increased. Lauren lists community as one of the best things about being a land surveyor. Another benefit is being outside and being uplifted by of the outdoors. Murphy Surveys is young--and 25% female--and has shown Lauren support at every turn. On the job site, Lauren has had a total station fall on her head, and even had to chase one down from a thief. People have even taken issue with the lasers used in Lauren’s surveying equipment. Outside of the work, the stories that come with it make the work incredible. Lauren is passionate about technology and has been delivering presentations about the future of land surveying. She speaks to young people about the industry as a whole, including project management and design.
1:12 — How Lauren became a land surveyor.
3:48 — Lauren’s realization that her field was largely male-dominated.
9:10 — Lauren reflects on the “office side” of the job and knowing your tools.
13:00 — Lauren’s social media journey.
17:20 — The best things about being a land surveyor.
25:55 — Blunders at the job site: falling total stations and thieves.
32:45 — Lauren shares a story about drunk people confusing the equipment for a camera.
34:00 — Considerations for the future.
38:30 — Parents struggle to see construction as a lucrative career choice, but it is.
“It was like being on a catwalk every day. Everyone would just stop and turn. And I thought, ‘what is going on...surely they see women every now and then?’”
“The last thing you want to do is go to work and feel uncomfortable.”
“I’m amazing at setting out a building site in the hallway of a college.”
“These are challenges...I always emphasize how amazing the feeling is to overcome them.”
“The jobs are there...be inspired and follow.”
“I was walking toward them and they all lifted their tops up.”
“Go out and get experience. I wouldn’t change land surveying for the world.”