Most people automatically picture a man when thinking of a construction worker. However, women are just as qualified and capable of being successful in the industry. Construction careers require high levels of skill and determination, perfect for anyone who enjoys creating and working with their hands.
Currently, women make up 10.3% of the construction workforce in the U.S. Just two years ago, that number was closer to 9%. While that number has not jumped significantly, it has steadily increased over the past decade.
Although still inadequately represented, 31% of women in the industry hold professional or management roles, many of which have moved into those roles in recent years. This shows that companies have been increasing efforts to promote and educate women about the benefits of working in construction.
Technological advancements, such as hydraulic equipment, have also made brute strength less important to get the job done. Regardless, some men still feel that women cannot carry their share of the workload and some women are concerned they might be considered masculine for working in the industry. Recruitment bias and non-inclusive work cultures also remain a concern.
Despite stigmas, more women are seeing the earning potential and diverse opportunities available in the industry. They are steadily working towards changing views about gender norms and leveling the playing field. Additionally, nearly 87% of women who work in the industry hold office positions, squashing most of the gender concerns.
In recent years, the construction labor shortage has presented an opportunity to hire more women than ever. Diversity is important in solving the labor shortage crisis and research has shown that gender diversity brings economic benefit to companies. Those companies with higher gender diversity in their workforce who have proved to be much more likely to outperform the industry average. Hiring more women in construction is a win-win situation.
Many organizations, like Professional Women in Construction, provide mentorship, networking and opportunities for growth and business development to women in the industry. The goal of Women in Construction Week is to bring awareness to those opportunities, directing interested women to training programs and local mentorship groups, and encouraging women to become role models. By highlighting the value of construction jobs for women, other women and young girls can see the industry as a viable career path.
The RK Apprenticeship Program began an all-female apprentice class last year with great success. If you, or someone you know, is interested in learning more about our apprenticeship program, click here.