We hear about the construction labor shortage ad nauseam – but we are ignoring a logical solution. A wide and deep talent pool with the skills and determination to not only “save” the industry but revolutionize it. Women.

Recruiting women to the traditionally male-dominated field is critical to addressing shortages, leveling the playing field, and bringing diverse skill sets, experiences, and perspectives into the space.

Why We Need Women In the Construction Industry

Women account for just under half of the total US workforce, and yet they make up just 9% of the construction workforce. According to OSHA, there are over 800,000 women employed in the field, and the vast majority are in managerial, administrative, and professional roles. About 200,000 hold production jobs, such as plumbers, electricians, and laborers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the industry will grow by 4% by 2031, adding about 168,500 new jobs each year. This is fast, and it’s steady.  Recruiting women in the construction industry is one solid way to address the pressing need for workers. We need more women because we need more people.

But it goes beyond this. Women can, and do, perform any construction-related job as men – but they also bring different skills to the table. We realize we are generalizing, but in terms of skills, men tend to be better adept at motor skills. Women tend to excel in areas requiring intuition, as well as critical and analytical thinking.

Women and the Bottom Line

Recruiting more women has an impact on the bottom line. Companies in the top 25% in gender diversity are 46% more likely to outperform peers in their industry, and, when women hold half (or more) of leadership positions, they see 10% higher cash flow returns.

For women considering a career in construction, the financial benefits also make sense. And cents. On average, a woman earns $0.82 for every $1 a man makes – for doing the same job. In the construction field, the pay gap is narrowed to $0.991. Additionally, there are ample opportunities for growth, for leadership roles, and for skills development that can be a game-changer for everyone.

Inclusivity Is Not a Buzzword

Encouraging more women to enter the construction field is also about equity. Inclusivity should not be a mere buzzword, something we spout off about to appear fair and forward-thinking. Instead, it must become an embedded part of the fabric of today’s workforces, and construction in particular. Inclusion has been proven to:

  • Make it easier to recruit and hire top talent
  • Enhance workplace performance
  • Facilitate stronger workplace connections, which improves engagement while decreasing toxicity, absenteeism, and burnout
  • Reduce turnover
  • Boost your public image and attract clients/customers

Over time, the culture begins to shift away from “women construction workers” or “women general contractors” or “women plumbers” to just “construction workers, “ “general contractors,” and “plumbers.” While making the effort to recruit more women, we also stop associating certain jobs with certain genders. This is real change and progress. Are we there yet? No. But we will get there.

The Next Generation of Construction Worker

Women are the future – or part of the future! – of the construction industry. In Part 2 of “Building a Future for Women In the Construction Industry,” we will explore why there is such a lack of representation and how innovative companies, programs, and initiatives are seeking to change that.

In the meantime, see how Hub & Spoke’s Entremaker Program can be a critical part of the solution in bringing the best and brightest minds, and hands, to the construction industry.