November 29, 2022
Women and the Construction Industry
Long considered to be a testosterone-driven, heavily male-dominated industry, construction is a field in which women are making space for themselves and getting a bit closer to parity in a way that outpaces other industries. It is a space that continues to grow, and as a result of organizations like the National Association for Women in Construction (NAWIC), the construction industry is slowly becoming less of a boy’s club and is opening up to women. Whether working as a tradesperson, an executive, or in an administrative support role, women have their own unique experiences and challenges in the construction industry.
While women are making progress in the construction industry, they still only comprised about 10.9 percent of the employees in the field in 2021. Working in a male-dominated industry can present challenges for women who are looking to not only be taken seriously as professionals but also have a safe and productive workplace in which to do their jobs. There are an increasing number of organizations, like NAWIC and Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) and that offer support from female colleagues and a place to go for advocacy as well as camaraderie. NEW in particular, offers training courses and job placement resources for women of all backgrounds and skill levels. According to the organization, they have helped over 3,000 women land jobs in the construction industry in the past 10 years alone.
Compared to other industries, construction has a much lower barrier to entry, due to the fact that there are no specific education and specialized training requirements. Because of this, women in the construction industry can find an easier path to leadership roles if they want a career in the industry. In fact, 44 percent of women in the construction industry hold professional and managerial roles. An additional 28 percent are in office and sales positions. With statistics showing the advantages of a diverse workforce, opportunities for women at construction companies will keep growing.
In addition to a possibly clearer path to leadership positions, the construction industry also offers women more equal pay than most industries have been proven to provide. It may be a predominantly male field, but the construction industry gender pay gap is smaller than the pay disparities in other fields. Where the overall pay gap for women averages 81.1 percent, women in construction earn 99.1% of what their male colleagues earn. When it is considered that women working in construction make up just under 2 percent of Americans working in the construction industry, it is evidence of an industry that is actively recruiting and retaining women.
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