Not Just Your Dad’s Job – 3 Reasons for Women to Go into Construction
March 12, 2019
Author: Kelsey Zibell, NCCER guest contributor
It is no secret that the construction industry is experiencing a labor shortage. With companies looking to hire and few professionals to choose from, the industry has begun to look to underrepresented groups. Companies are searching for professionals with certifications and refined skills; physical strength is no longer a top requirement. With the same training and education, women can be just as successful in construction as men. With companies looking to increase and diversify their workforce, women need to consider joining the industry.
Not convinced? Here are three reasons why you should pursue a career in the construction industry.
1. You can do it! (and by ‘it’ I mean whatever you want)
The construction industry has traditionally been thought of as a man’s job. The field used to require strength and risk with nearly every job in the field. Traditionally, men would fill these roles. However, women are increasingly joining the field as technology and progress favors a skilled worker over a strong one. Skills, training and credentials are now some of the most important attributes in a skilled worker. Qualifications are based on proper training and certifications.
Don’t want to work in the field? That’s cool too! There are numerous jobs and sectors in the construction industry. Women are currently working in human resources, education, marketing and leadership positions.
“It’s as diverse as any other industry,” Katrina Kersch, chief operations officer of NCCER, said. “Construction has an entrepreneurial vibe to it. It feels like you’re not constrained by a formal education or who you know. It’s all about what you’re willing to do for yourself.”
Women currently make up only 1 percent of on-site laborers. Though this number is low, the industry is looking to train and educate women to join the field at a much higher rate. With few women on-site, other sectors of the construction industry host more women. Currently, 31 percent of professional and management positions are held by women and 45 percent of sales and office positions are held by women.
With opportunities for advancement, a wide array of job possibilities and a surplus of jobs, pursuing a career in construction just makes sense.
2. Competitive and Equal Pay
The pay gap between what women and men make is a very real barrier that keeps women from advancing in any career. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that on average, women make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes nationally.
Lucky for those in the construction industry, women make nearly 96 cents to a man’s dollar. The industry is looking to close the discrimination gap between women and men as they narrow the gap in pay. The construction industry values high performance, efficiency and safety. With an emphasis on performance skills, gender rarely decides how much someone gets paid.
In addition to receiving equal pay, craft professionals may see an increase in starting base-pay as companies look to combat the labor shortage. According to a survey from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and Safe Construction and Real Estate, 79 percent of construction companies plan to hire more professionals to meet growing demand for construction projects. Of these companies, six out of 10 reported that they have increased base-pay rates to attract workers.
With the industry looking to hire more women, there is an abundance of positions open to women with competitive pay equal to their male counterparts. The jobs are there, women just need to fill them.
3. They are looking for you
As companies continue to look for workers, they will be paying attention to skilled, trained women. According to information from AGC, if the number of women in the field doubled, the industry would nearly eliminate the labor shortage.
Of the 79 percent of companies looking to hire more workers, 78 percent of companies reported having a hard time filling these positions. In fact, employee shortages were listed as a top concern for construction companies.
With the knowledge that the industry needs more workers and that women can provide skilled and valuable labor, companies are increasingly looking to train and hire women into the field.
AGC has stated that it is committed to attracting more women to the construction industry, according to Curbed. The association looks to increase awareness and has lobbied to increase funding for technical training for young girls.
Women are the key to ending the labor shortage and you can be a part of that shift. Make your plan to join the industry today and get started here.