Construction Best Practices

More Than "Just a Job": Building Careers for Women in Construction


As Women in Construction Week (March 3-9, 2024) rolls around again, we’re checking the temperature with our own construction community to see how they’re feeling about the subject: The answer is … pretty darn good!

Most people in The Network—Trimble Viewpoint’s active 7700+ customer community—feel positive about the state of and future for women in construction.

“I have been in the industry for over 30 years and have seen so much growth for women,” says Sheryl Dole, Director of Business Administration at Sano-Rubin Construction Services. “I love seeing women in decision-making seats. Years ago, that never would have happened. Now companies are embracing diversity, and young women have a growing interest in the industry.”

“Things have improved for women in the construction industry. More opportunities are available now, in a less caustic environment as well. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for women in this industry.” - Elizabeth Sakeagak, MIS Systems Administrator at Arctic Slope Regional Corporation.

And yet.

With women making up just 14% of the construction workforce, we have a long way to go. To create more and better opportunities, women need to hear and see a career-oriented message from construction companies.

Read on to see what our community thinks about the next chapter of this long-term goal. (Quotes are taken from members of The Network and from a recent webinar.)

Be part of the solution: Join our popular “Women in Construction” webinar

Create a career lifecycle for women in construction

From recruiting to retention to career growth, women need to see a career path in construction—starting at the interview, and continuing on the job.

“There’s still this idea out there that women in construction was a way for them to get out of the house, maybe bring in a little extra household income, but it was just a job,” says Marie Geib, IT Project Manager, Tri-M Group.

“That’s changed. Construction is not just a job, it’s a career. Women need to be able to see that they can have a satisfying, progressive career.”

Sounds great! But … how?

“I have been in the industry for more than 20 years and I have seen the amount of respect for women improve: We used to just be ‘the girl,’ and now I don’t hear that term anymore. And that makes me very happy!” - Coleen Ward, Finance & Operations Manager at Hatzel & Buehler, Inc.

“She felt like ‘just’ a receptionist. I thought, We can change that.”

“When someone in a position of leadership has an opportunity to advocate on behalf of their colleagues, speak up for them, elevate them,” says Trimble Viewpoint’s Heather Smith. “We all wish we’d had more of that.”

“I try to take women under my wing,” says Amy Pacheo, Controller for the O.C McDonald Company. “When I started at my company, there was this young receptionist, and she was handling all of the invoices and POs for the company … but she felt like just a receptionist. I thought, We can change that.

“We gave her some more training and turned that into an actual, professional role, with the job title of ‘Accounts Payable Specialist.’ When she moved out of our area, she was able to get a job as an Accounts Payable Supervisor in her next role.”

Women in construction—younger workers in particular—need more than respect: They need clear career paths and opportunities to advance.

The good news is, it pays to put the effort into a career in construction.

Any gender pay gap is too much, but the pay rate for men and women in construction is almost equal: women earning 95.5% of what men make in construction on average, compared with 82.9% less in other industries. (That’s decreased from a 26% overall differential in 2000 … so there has been some progress!)

What are the benefits of having more women in construction?

The short answer: Successful companies represent their customers.

“A business which fully reflects the society it serves will make us better placed to continue to deliver innovative projects to our customers.” - Will Mann, Systems Manager at O'Brien & Company.

Research shows that diversity in the workplace leads to better decision-making, improved creativity, and increased profitability.

“Construction should not be just a job. It’s a career.”

Why is Women in Construction Week still critically important? There is still work to do.

Susan Peck, Division Controller at J.F. Sobieski Mechanical Contractors, Inc., identifies some areas where construction companies should focus on for women.

Unconscious bias: For those who more business-focused or have to go pick up the kids, they can’t go out drinking, golfing, or join other social after-hours activities where so many decisions are made. These women may be perceived as aloof or less committed, and miss out on opportunities.

Safety issues: Women’s safety gear doesn’t fit. Women have smaller frames. They want to be out in the field with the men, but they have to deal with making adjustments that compromise their safety. 

Exposure: Young people need to know construction is a career option. As one example, companies can partner with local community colleges to offer apprenticeship programs (like Hensel & Beuhler’s award-winning internship program.)

In short, for Women in Construction Week 2024, let’s go beyond respect. Let’s open the door for women to have the real careers, the real money, and clear opportunities for leadership.

Join us and our amazing customer panel at our popular, lively, insightful “Women in Construction” webinar, happening on Monday, March 4! Our conversation will be focused on breaking down barriers and strategies for success and advancing women in construction. 

Save your seat for March 4! (Bookmark this link to get the recording, if you can’t make it!)

Posted By

Charity Heller leads the Viewpoint content team. She is passionate about engaging new audiences and creating relationships through storytelling, data, strategy, and inclusion.