Despite the promising opportunities a career in construction offers, women are still underrepresented. In this blog post, we explore the current state of women in construction, the underlying reasons behind this underrepresentation, uncover effective recruitment tactics for fostering inclusivity, and understand why the construction sector presents a dynamic and fulfilling career avenue for women seeking to leave a lasting impact in a traditionally male-dominated field.

How Many Women Are Working in Construction?

In 2022, about 1.3 million women worked in the construction industry, accounting for 10.9% of this blue-collar workforce. This statistic represents a 53% increase in women working in construction over the last decade. Washington, DC, has the highest concentration of female construction workers, making up  17.6% of workers in this field. States like Arizona and Florida also have a higher concentration of women working in construction, with 15.6% and 14.5% of their workforce, respectively, according to a recent report by the Washington Post.

The number of women working in construction is among the highest in recent years due to several factors. In 2016, the unemployment rate in this industry was at its lowest, forcing recruiters and hiring managers to go outside their regular talent pools to find workers. Then, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more women started working in construction. Lack of workers and investment in construction projects immediately following the pandemic forced many construction companies to diversify their staffing.

50% of female construction workers had children younger than eighteen, while 21.9% had children younger than six.

Despite the growth seen in recent years, not all women who work in construction are doing tasks that require physical labor. 40% of women in this industry hold management and office positions, while 2% work in production, transportation, and moving materials.  

Why Aren’t There More Women Working in Construction?

While women have made great strides, construction is still a male-dominated industry, and in the minds of many Americans, it’s supposed to be. In a study highlighted by Construction Dive, the lack of effort on the part of companies to recruit women for construction jobs is a direct correlation to the lack of women in the industry.

The biggest reason cited by many tradeswomen that keep women away from construction work is harassment. In a report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 26.5% of the almost 200 respondents reported experiencing high levels of harassment on the job due to their gender. This harassment extends to unfair treatment, discrimination, and being passed over for promotions. 47.7% felt treated differently than their male co-workers and worked in an unsupportive environment.

This study also revealed that women working in construction face challenges with a work-parenting balance that many women in other industries face. Difficulties in finding childcare (69.3%) and a lack of pregnancy accommodations (63.4%) are the top reasons women seriously consider leaving their construction jobs or deter them from working in the industry altogether. 

How Construction Companies Can Recruit More Women

Luckily, companies can take active steps to make construction a more lucrative career for women. Creating, implementing, and enforcing anti-harassment can go a long way in creating a more comfortable working environment for tradeswomen. In the IWPR survey, four in ten respondents reported that such policies were essential to their career success.

Recruiters must also look outside their usual sources of talent to find and attract more women workers. They can partner with organizations that train and mentor tradeswomen, like the National Association for Women in Construction. If you already have women working on your construction sites, they can assist with your recruiting efforts. They can serve as role models and mentors for women considering construction.

Finally, providing training programs and mentorship opportunities for new tradeswomen can set them up for success, helping them feel confident that they’ve chosen a rewarding career.

Why Construction is a Great Career Choice for Women

Construction is a rewarding career for women despite the challenges.

  • Competitive Compensation

    Salaries for numerous construction positions average $41,750 a year. The absence of a college degree requirement in many construction jobs allows women to enter the workforce quickly, resulting in substantial cost savings for personal and family financial goals. Moreover, the pay gap between men and women in construction is much smaller than in other industries. Women get paid 95.5% of what their male counterparts earn in construction.

  • Specialized Training Opportunities

    Many businesses seeking construction workers provide comprehensive on-the-job training. Additionally, third-party agencies are available to provide training in specific blue-collar fields. This advantage positions construction work favorably against white-collar alternatives, as it eliminates the need for extensive education or experience, enabling women to enter the workforce and start earning swiftly.

  • Flexible Scheduling

    When workers gain employment through a staffing agency like Labor Finders, they gain access to daily job opportunities. This flexibility allows tradeswomen to tailor their work schedule based on family needs, unexpected events, school functions, or leisure activities. In a family emergency, school event, vacation, or any other unforeseen circumstance, they can choose not to work on a specific day. Alternatively, a consistent schedule can simplify their lives by clarifying work hours and off-duty periods, enabling them to plan for vacations, medical procedures, and other future commitments.

  • Immediate Health Benefits

    Most construction roles require standing, bending, lifting, and walking, providing essential exercise for maintaining physical health. This eliminates the need for home exercise videos or costly gym memberships, as the nature of blue-collar work ensures workers stay active throughout the day. In contrast, the sedentary nature of many white-collar jobs, characterized by prolonged periods of sitting, has been linked to adverse health effects and a reduction in lifespan. Choosing a blue-collar profession can contribute to your well-being by incorporating physical activity into your daily routine without additional time or financial investments.

At Labor Finders, we value a diverse workforce and help our clients to find the right talent. With a vetted talent pool of local workers from all walks of life, we've developed a reputation for placing quality workers with our construction companies.

Our dedication to being there for our clients when they need us the most has earned us the prestigious Best in Staffing award from ClearlyRated for fifteen consecutive years. This accolade is a testament to the trust and loyalty we've built with our clients, reflecting the quality of our service and the enduring value we bring to businesses.

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