Women in Construction

The ladies of Riley at a recent outing.

Women are currently underrepresented in the construction industry, even though they make up about half of the total working population. The percentage of women employed in construction has stayed constant since 2002 at only 9%. But there are many jobs for women to claim in the construction industry. Breaking down the stereotype of construction as a male-dominated field, exposing girls to construction careers, and ensuring an inclusive environment are all essential to continued industry growth.

Huge Job Opportunities in Construction

Construction is one of the fastest growing job categories — employment in this sector rose by 13,000 in June and is up 282,000 over June 2017, according to Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. Construction industry trade jobs pay relatively well and do not require a college degree. With the cost of a college education continually increasing, trade jobs are a great alternative. The tight labor market for construction workers will create more opportunities for all workers, including women.

With the unemployment rate at record lows and not enough skilled laborers to fill open positions, the construction industry is trying hard to recruit the next generation of tradesmen and women. The goal is to expose children to potential construction careers early in life. Many companies and organizations are not only attending career fairs at high schools but are also hosting events at elementary schools. The future of the construction industry is dependent on increasing the number of qualified workers, especially women entering the industry, both in management and trades roles.

Recent advances in construction technology have also led to more STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs for women in construction, including civil engineering, mechanical engineering and surveying. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that jobs in STEM industries will increase by 17% between 2014 and 2024. This increase will create thousands of new job opportunities for women in construction. Women who enter STEM careers earn an average of 33% more than women in other jobs.

Women continue to break boundaries and challenge misconceptions in the construction workforce. Historically, women primarily worked in office roles in the industry. According to NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction), in 1985, 68% of women in construction served in clerical or other support roles. By 2016, only 45% of women in construction were serving in sales or office positions. Women are gaining representation in a variety of other construction roles, with 21% of women working in the construction trades. Between 2010 and 2016, the percentage of females in construction management and other professional roles nearly doubled, rising from 16% to 31%.

Construction is a busy and ever-changing industry. Every project is different and never boring. It’s also a chance to have an impact on the future of your community. A career in construction brings personal pride in what you are building – whether hospital, school, warehouse or municipal building. Young women should research and consider the opportunities of this busy industry. An exciting career awaits! Check out the current opportunities at Riley here.