Construction has always been known as a male-dominated field. It has been rare to hear about women working in construction or better yet, seeing it portrayed through any type of media. Just like other fields, women are making their way into the world of construction and although it may be a slow process it is occurring more and more every day. If there is one thing to be said about women working in construction, it is that the skills many women possess, such as communication and multitasking, are extremely beneficial and needed in this field.
Why the Construction Industry needs Women Workers
In 2018 the construction industry had the largest ratio in unemployment to vacancy. Statistics throughout this year showed that there were almost two position openings for each person that was seeking employment. This can be stemmed back to the Great Recession which hit the construction industry hard, leading to fewer and fewer people going into the field. That gets us to where we are today: in need of construction and skilled-trade workers.
Women take up around 9-10% of the workforce. Women working in construction are not usually seen working in the field though. There is currently only one woman for every 100 men out in the field. Women are typically working in the office including positions such as management and sales. From the article, Women in Construction: The State of the Industry in 2020, Lior Zitzman says, “Considering that women make up 47 percent of all employed individuals, this means that the construction industry is only benefitting from about 1.25% of the total female workforce.”
There are many ways that women can succeed in the construction industry. Stay focused on what you are doing and why. Keeping focused on your own goals will allow you to move through any uncomfortable comments, questions, or situations that can come up when in a male-dominated field. Find a mentor with whom you can seek communication, guidance and discuss career goals. Another important piece of information to remember when it comes to success and leadership in the construction industry is that as a woman you will be a role model to many other women. Getting involved in groups and organizations that promote and support women in construction is a great way to build your own career and succeed.
Advice from Women in the Field
We are aware of the hardships that may come from being a woman in construction. Find your mentors, they’re here to help! Here is advice from our own women working in the field at A.R. Brouwer Company.
“In my experience being a young woman working in the field is challenging. You’ll be faced with doubt because of your sex and perceived inexperience, but the important thing is not to let that stop you. Find experienced people you admire who are willing to share their knowledge with you and learn from them. Don’t be afraid to ask tradesmen questions, they are the experts in their field. Respect is earned, especially in this industry, and the more credible you are the better. Admire the older women in the trade, they entered a work environment less accepting than the one we are in today, and they have endured and thrived, we will too!” -Rachel Brouwer, Superintendent
“Working in construction can be rewarding and challenging. Each day is fast-paced, variable and requires multitasking and problem-solving characteristics that women thrive at. Being the minority in the construction industry creates an environment for women to set themselves apart and advance their careers in multiple ways including management, finance, skilled trades, and real estate.” -Allison Bishop, Development and Project Manager
Resources for Women in Construction
It is not easy working in a field dominated by men, therefore, there are many resources for women in construction. We have found that many women are not aware of all of the resources available to support them in this industry. The National Association of Women in Construction offers many construction-related educational courses for women and holds several events throughout the year that promote women in construction and also help women learn about the industry.
- Construction Industry Technician Course
- Certified Construction Industry Course
- NAWIC North Central Regional Conference
- NAWIC Scholarship Program
We want you to know if you are a woman in this field, we support you and if you are interested in working in this field there is a place for you! Your skills are necessary for the development of the construction industry. This field comes with plenty of collaboration and moving parts that need to be communicated in and out of the office and women are enhancing the efficiency and communication that is so crucial when it comes to these things. Here at A.R. Brouwer Company, we encourage you to become a part of the construction industry!
- Contact us at (734) 426-9980 to discuss your project with an experienced member of our team.
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