Britt Miller

Britt Miller

Diversity, or a lack thereof, is a pressing issue in all industries. Diversity fosters creativity and a lot of industries can benefit from different perspectives between the sexes. One of them is the construction industry.

When one thinks of the construction industry, perhaps the most common image that comes to mind is a group of men with yellow hard hats looking at plans or up on a scaffold. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 8.3 million employees in the construction and extraction sector, only 3.4% are women. 

The construction industry can certainly benefit from an influx of female workers. So for those young female graduates and job seekers looking to start a career, here are some of the reasons why construction is a great industry for women. 

1. Skilled labor shortage

The construction industry has an existing labor shortage issue. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, around 80% of contractors find it difficult to fill hourly craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce. With the demand for construction projects steadily growing, the industry opens up a lot of opportunities for stable and high-paying jobs for women at all job levels.

2. Leadership opportunities

While women are needed at all job levels in the industry, significant change is still needed in making construction jobs attractive to women in general. To achieve this, the industry needs a significant change in leadership and managerial positions. Currently, women in management positions in construction only comprise 7.7% of the total one million jobs, according to the same report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Women in leadership positions have huge benefits for all industries, especially in a highly collaborative environment like the construction industry. Recent studies have shown that group collaboration is greatly improved in gender-diverse groups. Construction projects require a higher level of collaboration and thus, adding women in managerial positions can improve workplace productivity. 

In addition, female leaders play an important role in creating more opportunities for women in construction. They can improve female recruitment processes and push for career advancement and benefits for other women.

3. High salary potential

Salaries for construction jobs are on the rise, making the industry an attractive place to start a career in. According to a survey conducted by the National Center for Construction Education and Research, project managers and project supervisors have the highest average annual salaries in the industry at $92,523 and $88,355. The next highest salaries are those of combo welders ($71,067), instrumentation technicians ($70,080), pipe welders ($69,222), power line workers ($68,262) and industrial electricians ($67,269). Nineteen of the 32 categories of workers in the survey earned an average salary that is higher than $60,000. 

4. Diversity of perspectives

Diversity in gender representation is not just an admirable thing to have in businesses, but it is also a viable business strategy. Diverse groups provide differing perspectives crucial to solving problems. In a study conducted by Gallup on the performance of gender-diverse teams compared to single-gender teams, researchers found that the difference in insights and viewpoints by gender-diverse teams led to better problem-solving and business performance. The industry should not underestimate the wider industry knowledge and resources that teams composed of women and men can provide.

The construction industry still has a long way to go in providing support for women in the workforce. However, it is continually evolving and realizing the value provided by women in collaboration, problem-solving and decision-making. Construction companies are at last embracing gender diversity, making construction an attractive career for women. 

This was a guest post from our friends at Handle.

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