5 Minute Read
Women in Construction Paving the Way
Real Talk on the Challenges Female Construction Professionals Face, Finding Inspiration, and What Drives Success
Did you know that women make up 10.9% of the construction industry? And of that percentage, only 1 in every 100 employees in the field is a woman. Pretty crazy, huh? Well here’s some better news. On average, women make 95.7% of what men make in the industry which is 18% over the typical wage gap.
We recently sat down with three of our customers who are all women in the construction industry: LeAnn Evoniuk, CFO at RJK Construction, Inc., Susan Peck, job cost analyst at Hatzel & Buehler, and Marie Geib, PMP, IT project manager at The Tri-M Group, LLC.
Throughout the special webinar presentation, Women in Construction Paving the Way, each panelist provided insight into what it’s like being a woman in the construction industry today. And, each gave some great advice for other women in the industry who may be struggling or looking for a career in the field. Here are some highlights from that discussion:
As a woman in the construction industry, are you afraid to speak up?
Susan: In my experience, women are often afraid to speak up to the men on the team, as well as afraid to go to the other women in the field. Women often find other women to be competitive and become worried of what their teammates will think of them asking questions. More recently, I have seen more and more women feeling confident in their abilities. Women are speaking up and asking questions and in my opinion, this is how you become successful in construction.
How do you view the construction industry and how have you seen it change over time?
LeAnn: I’ve seen more and more women fill positions that were traditionally filled by men whether that be project managers, field supervisors, operations managers or IT. There has been tremendous growth. It took me about 5-10 years of working to prove myself and earn respect from my team. I’m now recognized as a force within our business.
Marie: I’ve seen women bring a different perspective to business conversations. I think doors are really opening for women because managers are beginning to realize that diversity, including gender, is a good thing to have in construction. Women are good at bringing shades of gray and creativity to questions. It’s the different perspectives that are good and that are shaking things up and I think that’s all positive.
How have you seen the construction industry change as a result of technology? How is this going to support women in the industry?
Susan: Technology is working to help the construction industry create less waste and develop safer work environments for employees. The increase in technology use is also encouraging more and more women to pursue STEM degrees. There’s just so much more to offer for women in construction.
Marie: From my perspective of working with software and data, I think that it’s all about collaboration and about eliminating fragmentation that exists between departments and between the office and field. There are an infinite number of ways to get involved if you’re a tech minded person whether that be tech support, specialist in data and reporting, or cybersecurity. If you’re into software development, there’s a growing vertical market in construction software. Help us bring the office and the field together!
What is the best way to elevate women in construction?
LeAnn: Support one another! All women in construction are strong women. Continue growing and furthering your education. Your growth is up to you, so be someone who has the desire to get out there and go after what you want.
Marie: Focus on finding a mentor or being a mentor to other women. This is one of the best ways you can support others. It’s easy to prioritize your own advancement, but not as easy to take time and put generosity first to help other women. This is a huge part of building community and success within a company.
Susan: Lift up your peers, seek out your education, find a mentor. Take time to say yes to other women and help others learn and be successful.
What advice do you have for young women just starting out in the industry?
Susan: Be brave and take opportunities, don’t sit around and wait for them. Also, be verbal and share your opinion. It’s important that you speak up and advocate for yourself. Don’t be afraid to take a chance because you won’t grow without pain and sometimes you just need to take a jump.
Marie: Don’t worry too much about what others think. Set your own path and adjust as necessary, but don’t let others throw you off. Work on being a good listener, it will give you a competitive advantage. Listening is an essential step to understanding processes and solving problems, and it’s important to being a great leader.
LeAnn: It takes a team and fostering a team is so important. Everyone should be working and collaborating together. So continue learning and always keep growing. Don’t accept the status quo, shine with your knowledge and continue moving forward.
We were so excited to see some of our webinar attendees get involved as well. Here are a few great tips from our engaged audience:
- “I believe in always learning and growing, which sometimes is not comfortable, but you need to be uncomfortable to grow.”
- “Ask your coworkers more about what they do and how you can help them be successful. You'll learn more about your company/industry and you'll gain a teammate.”
- “Build those critical relationships so you get buy-in and support, and pick your battles. Your outcomes do speak for you!”
- “Be assertive, don't be afraid to speak up, try not to people please, and learn to say no.”
You can check out the full webinar here!
What great insight and advice for women in construction. Thank you LeAnn, Marie and Susan for joining us for Women in Construction Paving the Way.