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The Growing Power of Women in Construction - Part 1 of 2
Clear Efforts are Being Made to Highlight and Elevate Female Construction Professionals, But as Numbers Still Hover Around 10%, There is Still Much More Work to Do
Editor’s Note: Women in Construction Week is March 7th to 14th. We’re kicking off the week with this first part of our two-part blog series where you’ll learn about some noteworthy stats on the impact women are having in construction and the shortfalls they still face, read about the strides the industry is making to empower female construction professionals, how organizations are helping women thrive, and first-hand tips for success from leading women in the industry
10.23%. That’s the number of women who work in the construction industry. As that number shows, there is a large gender gap that still exists in the world of construction.
Many construction organizations have made huge strides in trying to employ and promote women, yet there is still a large bridge to cross in order to close the gap. It can be done, but first we need to understand our starting point, obstacles to overcome and honor organizations who have and are trying to succeed at crossing gender barriers. In other words:
- What are the current statistics and data in regards to Women in Construction?
- How is the industry making strides and closing the gender gap?
- How are organizations paving the way and thriving?
Women in Construction by the Numbers
It’s a challenge to succeed without understanding current stats surrounding women in construction and utilizing that data as a benchmark. Here are three key statistics pulled from a recent article from Big Rentz that can help gain greater understanding as to how the industry stands:
- Roughly 10% of women made up the industry in 2019. That number has risen very slightly. Proof the industry has a long way to go to in order to advance towards gender equality.
- Office positions make up for 86.7% of women in the construction industry while 2.5% are in trades.
- Although the industry has a long way to go, on average, one in three construction companies actively promoted women.
A few positive data points helps us understand how the construction industry is moving forward:
- Compared to other industries, the gender pay gap is much smaller in construction. According to the National Association of Women in Construction, women earn approximately 99% of what men make in comparison to the United States average of 81.1 percent.
- In a recent report, Construction Coverage noted that the home to Mall of America and the mighty Mississippi river is leading the way in share of female employment in construction. Minneapolis holds 19.1% share of female construction employees while Seattle is in second place with 17.6% share.
- More specifically, Construction Dive noted that women in construction make nearly $47,000 a year, a little more than women in other industries, who make approximately $43,400 on average.
Helping Women in Construction Thrive: People and Organizations Paving the Way for a Better Future
With diversity, equity and inclusion efforts becoming more accepted and promoted across nearly all aspects of business, there have been a number of women-led events, industry association and organization campaigns and initiatives driven by businesses and corporations focused on providing more rewarding career paths for women in construction. Women in Construction Week highlights women as a visible component of the construction industry. WIC Week also raises awareness about the opportunities available for women who are construction workers.
These efforts are helping bring women together to exchange ideas, network and inspire women in the industry to grow and thrive. Here are a look at just some of these:
- One national, noteworthy conference is Women in Construction USA. During this conference, leaders and innovators from around the globe share their significant advice on how to create a successful career in and lead the industry.
- ENR’s Groundbreaking Women in Construction event also provides a way for women in the industry to come together and thrive. ENR’s event has grown into a talent development and networking event for women in all sectors of the industry.
- The National Association for Women in Construction was the very first organization, founded in 1953, created to promote women in the industry. It leads with the purpose of strengthening and amplifying the success of women in the construction industry. Women can find articles, resources and other material to help build success in the industry.
- On the east coast, Massachusetts Girls in Trades has been established to mentor female students in middle school and high school about construction and get them to consider construction as a career path.
- A Michigan organization called Women in Skilled Trades focuses on helping women enter the construction industry by providing training in tasks like stenciling cement, wiring outlets and framing walls.
- Empowering women in construction has also been a key theme of Viewpoint’s Collaborate Conference in recent years, with industry sessions devoted to diversity, equity and inclusion, discussions on the importance of women to the industry and real-world mentoring and advice from prominent female construction professionals
In part two, we’ll look at some of the best practices and tips for success for women in construction, shared by leading female construction professionals.