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Women in Construction - The Current Industry in 2024

Women in Construction – The Current Industry in 2024

Construction has long been dominated by men, with women representing a small fraction of the workforce. 

A 2023 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that women make up only 10.8% of construction workers in the United States. 

Despite women constituting 47% of the overall employed population, they account for just 1.25% of the construction workforce. This gap is due to several factors such as unconscious gender bias, limited training opportunities, and negative stereotypes about women in construction. 

In spite of these challenges, women are steadily making their mark in the industry. The proportion of women in construction has increased by 2% since 2010, when women constituted only 8.9% of the workforce. 

The BLS also projects a 4% growth in the construction industry from 2021 to 2031, translating to approximately 168,500 new jobs each year over the decade. This growth has led companies to actively seek out women to enhance their workforce with diverse skills and perspectives. 

The Underrepresentation of Women in Construction 

While women are fully capable of thriving in any construction job, their numbers in trade and leadership positions remain surprisingly low. This gap results from several factors, including widespread harassment and entrenched gender stereotypes. As of 2022, most women in construction worked in office and sales roles. Here’s a detailed look at women’s employment within the construction sector: 

– Sales and Office Roles: 36.1% 

– Management Roles: 36.1% 

– Construction and Maintenance Roles: 24.6% 

– Transportation Roles: 2% 

– Service Roles: 1.2% 

Despite these obstacles, progressive companies and dedicated women in construction are making significant strides. They inspire the next generation by providing strong female role models and advocating for more women in leadership positions. 

Influential Women in Construction 

Women in construction are breaking barriers and taking on leadership roles, although they remain underrepresented. Many women have risen to executive and managerial positions in the last five years, indicating a growing trend of promoting female leaders. Here are some notable women in the construction industry who are leading the charge. 

Kim Roy 

Kim Roy became the CEO of HITT Contracting in 2017 after an 18-year tenure with the company. She has earned accolades such as being named to Building Design + Construction Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2009 and winning the Commercial Observer’s 2019 Top Women in Real Estate — Innovation Award. In a NAIOP interview, Kim expressed her hope that her leadership would inspire more women to join the traditionally male-dominated field. 

Meirav Oren 

Meirav Oren has significantly impacted the construction industry since co-founding the tech startup Versatile in 2016. As CEO, she has led the company to secure over $80 million in funding. Versatile introduced CraneView in 2019, a device powered by AI that enhances crane operator safety and boosts efficiency. 

Kylie Rampa 

Kylie Rampa serves as the CEO of QIC, managing the company’s strategy and operations. Before this, she was the Group Head of Investment at Lendlease Australia, which undertakes construction, development, and infrastructure projects worldwide. Kylie brings a wealth of knowledge in real estate and development to her leadership role. 

Resources for Women in Construction 

Entering the construction industry, which is both expanding and competitive, requires women to have access to resources designed as per their needs. Thankfully, many companies and associations are making significant strides to support women in this field and educate young women about the opportunities available. 

Organizations Supporting Women in the Trades 

Nationally recognized organizations like the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and Women Construction Owners & Executives USA are key players in this effort. These groups offer mentorship, marketing, and networking opportunities to assist women who are new to the construction industry. For instance, Jenny Brongo, the president and owner of Brongo Contracting and Supply in Rochester, NY, utilized NAWIC’s resources to effectively manage her business after her father’s passing. 

Training Opportunities  

In various regions, major construction firms partner with local communities to provide courses and boot camps specifically designed for young girls and women keen on joining the construction industry. Numerous urban centers also have apprenticeship programs aimed at attracting women. These programs help women prepare for necessary exams and teach them the skills needed for specific jobs. 

The NAWIC website serves as a valuable resource, offering an extensive list of educational materials for both aspiring construction professionals and those already working in the field. 

Events and Forums Supporting Women in Construction 

Numerous events focus on recognizing and promoting women in the construction field. The NAWIC Annual Conference offers various seminars and workshops dedicated to the professional growth of women. Similarly, the Groundbreaking Women in Construction event focuses on leadership training and strategies to address pay disparities. Beyond these events, blogs such as Constructing Equality and Tradeswomen provide valuable resources. These platforms discuss diversity challenges, present new research, highlight scholarship opportunities, and share personal stories and experiences to keep women informed and connected in the industry. 

The Impact of Diversity  

Diversity is a driving force behind high-performance in the construction sector. According to a recent McKinsey & Co. report from 2023, companies with over 30% female workforce see significant financial gains. As the industry saw growth in 2022, increasing female representation stands out as a strategic move to capitalize on this momentum. 

Despite these benefits, Randstad highlights persistent challenges. Nearly half of women surveyed report a shortage of female role models in construction, while a staggering 89% have encountered perceived gender discrimination. These findings underscore a pressing need for industry-wide reforms to better support women in construction roles. 

Recruiting Women as Construction Workers 

Recruiting women in construction remains an ongoing challenge, yet it presents a significant opportunity for growth. To address this, companies need to tackle gender bias head-on by fostering inclusive cultures and implementing targeted training and mentorship programs. Integrating more women into the hiring process and promoting female role models are crucial steps towards achieving greater gender diversity. Moreover, schools must highlight construction and STEM careers to inspire young girls early on. 

The industry’s current labor shortage underscores the urgency to recruit more women. As construction technology advances, many firms hesitate due to staffing gaps. Integrating women into IT roles can alleviate these shortages while enhancing diversity within companies. 

Despite persistent challenges, diversity is proven to enhance financial performance and address labor shortages effectively. By challenging traditional gender roles, women are driving the industry towards greater inclusivity and diversity, benefiting future generations.  

An Inclusive Future with Arrant Construction  

Arrant Construction, based in Houston, Texas, is an inclusive employer committed to empowering women in the construction industry. Recognizing the value of diverse perspectives, Arrant actively seeks to hire and promote women across all levels of the company. This commitment not only fosters a supportive work environment but also enhances innovation and performance. As a successful firm, Arrant Construction continues to set benchmarks in quality and reliability, delivering exceptional service and exceeding client expectations throughout the Houston area. 

FAQs 

Why is it important to recruit more women in construction? 

Recruiting more women in construction brings diverse perspectives and skills, filling crucial labor gaps and improving overall industry innovation and performance. 

What challenges do women face in the construction industry? 

Women in construction often encounter gender bias, limited career advancement opportunities, and a lack of female role models. Creating inclusive workplaces and support networks can help address these challenges effectively. 

How can companies support women in construction roles? 

Companies can support women by promoting inclusive work cultures, offering targeted training programs, encouraging female leadership, and actively recruiting women for diverse roles within the industry. 

What benefits does diversity bring to the construction industry? 

Diversity in construction enhances creativity, problem-solving, and decision-making, leading to more innovative projects and better outcomes. It also helps attract and retain top talent in a competitive market.

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