When thinking of construction, a male dominant industry comes to mind. Women currently only make up 10.3% of construction, however, the future is quite promising for women in the workforce. With new construction jobs growing by almost 2 million in 2022, companies are recruiting women now more than ever to usher their skill sets into this industry. Read on to learn more about how women are leading the way to a bright and promising future.
Closing the gap
Historically, women have not played a prominent role in the construction industry. Outside of World War II manufacturing efforts, men have typically been the sole choice for manual labor and manufacturing jobs for centuries. Flashforward to 2021 with labor shortages in construction and manufacturing, and hardworking women can quickly rise through the ranks in today’s crazy market. Our industry is ripe for new blood with housing at all-time highs and labor at all-time lows.The field is changing swiftly in our industry as more and more women find lucrative jobs on construction sites. Young women who are looking for a major in college that will ensure they get a job should seriously consider construction management.
There are many reasons why the construction industry has employed few female employees over the years. Until the past couple of decades construction, in general, was outside the gender-associated jobs women typically held. Medicine, education, administration, and homemaking have historically been the stereotypical female careers. But times have changed. In today’s climate, technology has changed construction and stereotypical barriers to jobs have been eliminated.
Absent of the past stereotypical barriers, however, there are still few women in the industry. We can only speculate that careers in construction are still off the radar for most young women. Employers and HR professionals should work to educate young females on all the opportunities our industry provides. Done well, employers will be the beneficiaries of a talented workforce that will undoubtedly bring fresh perspectives to an industry that is in much need of innovating.
The History of Women In Construction
The first documented woman to work in the construction industry was Emily Roebling in the late 1800s. She was given the job as “the first female field engineer” and made an incredible contribution to the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge opened on May 24, 1883, and Roebling was the first person to cross it. In 1979, Barbara Res also made history as the first woman to oversee the construction of a skyscraper, Trump Tower, from start to finish. “You can be a girly girl and still be hauling pipe all day long.” Brave women have paved the way for future young girls who aspire to work in this industry. There have been uphill battles and tough conversations, but women are making a positive contribution every day.
The construction industry is booming, and women are making sure that they are a large part of this growth. Currently, 13% of construction firms are owned by women, and there is a 64% growth of women owners from 2014-2019. With this growth comes a wonderful ability for women to quickly rise through the ranks and acquire executive jobs with high-paying salaries. For example, Kim Roy, Ann Massey, and Kylie Rampa are all CEOs of their own contracting/construction companies. Building supply giant 84 Lumber is female-owned by Maggie Magerko. 44% of the top 100 companies have women in executive positions and that number is only going up. However, with this growth comes a high need for labor. This industry is hiring now more than ever and is looking for talented, hardworking women and men to fulfill these job openings. Organization, creative skills, and so much more are qualities that can help with the job application process.
Kayla Johnson, Electrical Planner at Corrigan Plant, RoyOMartin
Women have shown time and time again that they are a force to be reckoned with. While the construction industry is still a male dominant industry, women are determined to change those statistics. With women in CEO positions, executive roles, or working directly in the plants, this industry is changing very quickly. The incredible contributions women have made towards projects such as the Brooklyn Bridge and skyscrapers in NYC truly show that there have always been women in this industry, and it’s their time to show what they’re capable of.
BigRentz, Inc. “Women in Construction: The State of the Industry in 2021.” BigRentz, 24 Feb. 2021
“The History of Women in the Construction Industry, and How Far They Have Come – By Annie McEvoy.” NEREJ