While women working in construction are in the minority, the number is growing as more opportunities open up for the female construction worker. According to the US Bureau of Labor, women only comprise up to 10.3 percent of labor in the construction industry. Of that percentage, even fewer are out in the field.
Why More Women in Construction Aren’t Employed
Several reasons exist for why more women aren’t working in the construction industry. One of the major reasons is that few women apply. Of course, it’s important to look beyond this statement as to why more women don’t apply to be a female construction worker.
Word of mouth is still the primary way many construction companies find new workers. The names those employees give are usually men, friends they have worked with in the past. To change this situation, companies need to become more proactive in recruiting women in construction work.
Another issue is the lack of training and equipment for the female in the construction industry. Women should receive adequate training and the tools they need to be successful in this field. Perceptions from others may make it difficult for them to get hired or even to apply. If they feel they won’t succeed with an application, female construction workers may adopt the “Why bother” attitude and not even apply for positions with local companies.
Where Women are Working in Construction
With the small percentage of women in the construction industry, it’s good to know where they are working. Three-fourths are working off-site with about 13 percent owning the construction company. The female construction worker is also finding jobs as a construction manager out in the field.
Many challenges face women who want to work out on the jobsite, including lack of proper equipment for safety or equipment that doesn’t fit correctly because it was made for a larger male.
Resources for Women Who Want to Work in Construction
Women who are interested in working in the construction industry can benefit from many resources. For instance, national groups like the National Association of Women in Construction can provide help for women currently in the field as well as those who want to start a career in construction. Another organization, Nontraditional Employment for Women, trains women for careers in the construction industry and other trades.
Communities and companies can offer courses and programs to prepare women for careers in this field. They may hire apprentices and train them with skills specific to the jobs. They may work to recruit women specifically and prepare them to pass certification or other exams.
While educating women and training them for jobs in construction is critical for their success in the industry, companies must also work to remove gender bias from their culture. They must address the issue of discrimination and hold people responsible for polarizing women in the business.
As more women see the viability of a career in the construction industry and shortages of qualified candidates leave companies searching for new hires, the possibility of a diverse workforce can become a reality.