Supporting Women In Construction
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, a day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women as well as marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality, we’re focusing on women in construction. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 1.1 million women were employed in construction at the end of 2018, which translates to roughly 10% of the construction industry; 44% of them were in management roles, 28% were in sales and office jobs, and 21% were in service occupations.
Closing the skills gap
The BLS projects that there will be 7.5 million jobs in the construction industry by 2026, reaching its highest peak since 2006. But the industry has been facing the problem of an aging workforce without enough young people to backfill for years. Due to COVID, workers are retiring quicker, leaving even bigger gaps in the workforce.
This skills gap makes it a perfect time for women to work in construction. For so long, skilled trades weren’t considered women’s work, but there is more and more training available for women, and women on the job sites are becoming more normalized. STP as a company is trying to hire more people in the trade to resolve that skills gap and try to diversify on the job site.
Pay gap (…or lack thereof)
Because there is such a skills trade gap in construction in general, there is a huge potential for women to earn big right out of the gate. It’s no secret that across the board women in the U.S. earn about 80% of what men do. However, the gender pay gap is much smaller in construction, with women earning on average 99.1% of what men make.
Why is this? There are lots of reasons women don’t make as much as men in a white collar setting, but in construction, salaries are based on specific skill sets. Because of this, women in skilled trades, comparatively, tend to make more than female workers in other fields.
Diversity on the jobsite
Studies have shown that gender diversity promotes production and is good for business. In fact, according to the Peterson Institute, companies who were in the top 25% in gender diversity of their workforce were 46% more likely to outperform their industry average.
A staff that includes both men and women bring in a variety of perspectives and approaches to a job site. Contractors focusing on that diverse workforce are finding having women on the site can boost production and report that women’s often high emotional intelligence are an asset.
Lifting women up!
STP is a woman-owned company, and we pride ourselves on being a company of women in a male dominated environment. We understand women feel like they have a lot to prove when they enter a job site and can sometimes feel like the oddball out. While women do have to know their stuff, having confidence in themselves and in their skills creates a successful transition to a new job.
We at STP reach out for referrals, advertise for women to join our team, and partner with different contractors to make sure we are attracting the right people. Any issues with PPE and other equipment are dealt with quickly to make sure women have workwear and safety gear that fit properly. We can also suggest training to management or crews about culture-related topics as needed.
While there are lots of training and networking opportunities for women in construction, there is always more that can be done. We are always looking for ways to help women grow in their careers and believe it’s really empowering to have women do what men can do.
Resources for Women in Construction
There are so many professional groups for women in construction throughout New England, and the country. Many of them host events specifically created for recruiting women, professional development, and networking. Most of them have local chapters. Here are some of our favorites:
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