Growing Number of Women Entering Construction

Women in construction industry expected to grow from 1 million to 2 million over the next decade.

Source : Unsplash

November 28, 2022

Author : Patty Allen

Have you noticed in recent times more women workers at your neighborhood construction sites?  The construction industry has traditionally been a labor-intensive and male-dominated sector, but that is all set to change. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has noted that since 2016, women's participation in the construction industry has increased. A Washington Post analysis discovered that 14% of all construction employees were female. October 2009 marked the previous peak for the percentage of female construction workers when they comprised 13.5% of the workforce.

Hispanic women have significantly contributed to this expansion. In the past six years, the number of Hispanic women in the sector has increased by 117%. Currently, there are 1.2 million women employed in the construction industry.

The most female workers were found in DC, followed by Arizona and Florida in second and third place, respectively.

But why has there been a sudden shift?

Continuous demand for workers in the construction industry has contributed to the increasing number of women in the field. In 2016, the unemployment rate for construction industry workers was the lowest since 2000. To compensate for the dwindling resources, recruiters had to explore beyond the traditional sources.

As the construction workforce ages and fewer young people enter the trades, the industry faces a "chronic scarcity of competent labor. And because of this, there is a need to hire people that have not historically been considered for the construction industry.

BLS has also noted that the gender pay gap is slowly ceasing, and it can be significantly felt in the construction sector, where women earn almost 94.3% of what men make.

But women's participation is more in sales (38.6%) and at the managerial level (37%) rather than in production, transportation, or service roles (1.2%).

According to experts, for this trend to continue, firms must establish diversity hiring targets and prioritize inclusion and safety. Frequently, women may not view construction trades as a viable career option; therefore, it is essential to use inclusive language in job advertising and employee materials to convey that women currently have a presence in the workplace.

Gina Raimondo, US secretary of commerce, introduced the Million Women in Construction Initiative last month. During her speech at the North American Building Trades Union's Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference, Raimondo emphasized the goal of doubling the number of women working in construction over the next decade from 1 million to 2 million.

The federal administration is working to open opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses by establishing the Minority Business Development Agency within the Department of Commerce and other legislative resources like the IIJA, the CHIPS and Science Act. The role of women in the construction industry will undoubtedly continue to grow over the coming decades.

Category : Minority Women Business Enterprises Women Business Enterprises Contractor Trades

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