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Empowering Women in Construction

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Did you hear that over the past year the number of women in construction has grown by 3.1%? While there’s still work to be done, the average percentage of women in construction is now at 14% in 2023. We hope to see that number continue to grow throughout the upcoming year.

To celebrate Women in Construction Day back in March, we sat down with three of our customers who are women in the construction industry: Marie Geib, PMP, IT Project Manager, at The Tri-M Group, LLC, Amy Pacheco, Controller at O.C. McDonald Company, and Susan Peck, Job Cost Analyst at Hatzel & Buehler.

Throughout the webinar presentation, Building the Future: Empowering Women in Construction, each panelist provided insight into what it’s like to be a woman in the construction industry today. And, each gave some great advice on how we can encourage and retain women in the field of construction. Here are some highlights from that discussion:

Marie Geib, PMP, IT Project Manager, at The Tri-M Group, LLC

What can we do to recruit more women for construction?

Marie: “I think that the first and most important thing is that we show women a career path starting in the interview and then continue that on the job.

There is still this existing idea out there that women enter the workforce to get out of the house, they take a job to help provide extra household income, but it’s a job and not a career.

If we want women to think of the construction industry as a great place to have a career, we need to take women seriously and we need women to see that they have just as much opportunity as men to have a satisfying and progressive career. We need women to see that on their way in the door and while they’re out on the job.”

Susan: “We need to work harder to get trades out in front of people. We need more exposure and we need people out there. Get your organization out in the local schools, start internship programs, have a mentorship program. College isn’t for everyone. Show women that they have opportunities in the field of construction.”

Amy Pacheco, Controller at O.C. McDonald Company

Once women are working in construction, what can be done to retain them long term?

Amy: “I think that retaining women has a lot to do with pay, benefits, and flexibility for family life for the women who chose to have children. Women should be able to have flexibility to do what is needed to care for their children while also making the same pay.”

Marie: “We need to eliminate pay gaps between men and women doing the same job, provide the same opportunities for women to be promoted, and also create a zero tolerance in company culture for any form of discrimination against women.”

Amy: “Providing women with a growth path and structure, and then guiding them through it really helps. Encourage people to get any sort of education or certifications in order to invest in themselves and take themselves to that next level. Leaders need to encourage women and employees to go and do that for themselves.”

Susan Peck, Job Cost Analyst at Hatzel & Buehler

What areas do you see the most persistent misconception?

Susan: “Many companies say they have an ‘open door policy’. That needs to actually happen, and there needs to be open communication. There has to be someone who can take any type of feedback and comments and have a thick skin.

Let people talk and have discussions on the issues that are occurring within the organization. If you want people to have buy-in and keep your company moving in a positive direction, and you want people to feel like they can trust the people they work under, let them tell you what’s happening and actually listen to what they have to say. If you stifle these discussions, you aren’t going to move forward.”

Marie: “I would say the mentality that women are good for support roles, more so than management roles, and that men should move into those management roles and other roles with greater responsibility. I believe that needs to change. We need more women in progressive roles.”

Interested in watching the full webinar? Check it out here:

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Kati is an Associate Manager of Customer Advocacy at Trimble Viewpoint, enthusiastic about all things marketing and construction.

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