It is no secret that the field of construction traditionally has been dominated by men. Yet, more women are now choosing construction careers and changing the face of the industry.
In fact, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the percentage of women working in construction trades is the highest it’s been in two decades. And, importantly, more women are being promoted to leadership roles and owning their own construction businesses, with a 64% growth of women-owned construction firms from 2014 to 2019.
For women looking to consider careers in construction, here are five reasons why the future is bright:
- High salaries and leadership opportunities
Construction offers the opportunity to start a well-paying career without the cost of a college degree and massive student loan debt. And, with construction jobs in demand and far too few workers to fill them, salaries are expected to continue to increase in coming years.
Women in construction have unlimited potential for leadership advancement and entrepreneurism. In fact, 44% of women in the industry are in professional and managerial positions.
The gender pay gap in the construction industry is also one of the smallest in the country compared with other industries. Women in construction earn about 95% of what men make, compared with an average 81% in all other industries. With a nearly nonexistent gender pay gap, the construction industry truly prioritizes its female workers.
- Technology and innovation
It’s time to kill the outdated perception that construction jobs are all about manual labor, and women are not strong enough to do them. Modern technology and innovation have changed the nature of construction work. There is a huge diversity of rewarding roles for women in the construction industry, ranging from project managers to planners, to operators and engineers, design managers and executive roles. There is no limit to what women can do in this diverse and evolving industry.
- Differing perspectives
Importantly, women bring a different perspective than their male counterparts that is highly valued by employers. According to a report from McKinsey & Co., businesses with gender-diverse executive teams are 25% more likely to achieve above-average profitability.
Women tend to be fantastic problem-solvers, team-players and detail-oriented workers, which is well-suited for managing a job site. Additionally, many women enjoy having a direct impact on their communities and seeing a project come to fruition.
- Job satisfaction
According to the 2022 Levelset Women in Construction report, the top reasons women said they liked working in construction include: pride in creating physical buildings, being creative and solving problems, helping customers and clients, flexible work schedules, fast-paced and ever-changing work, and the people they get to work with. And, an overwhelming 80% of women surveyed said they loved their job.
- On-the-job training
Getting started in the construction industry is accessible for anyone and doesn’t require an expensive college degree. Apprenticeship training programs — like the one implemented by the Associated Builders and Contractors of New Jersey two years ago — provide paid, on-the-job training and classroom education.
Working alongside local schools and businesses, Associated Builders and Contractors of New Jersey’s Apprenticeship Training program provides pre-apprenticeship construction readiness training, or CORE, and can help prospective apprentices get hired with one of more than 1,300 of our member companies. Our apprentices earn while they learn, pursuing an education while working full-time on the path to a successful lifetime career.
Trade work provides high salaries, fulfilling careers and the opportunity to run one’s own business. For women in construction, the sky is truly the limit.
Samantha DeAlmeida Roman is president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of New Jersey.