Statistics suggest that women comprise only 10.9% of the construction leadership ranks, with 1 out of every 100 employees being a woman working in this sector as a whole. This article explores the rise of women in the construction industry and the important roles they can play.
The odds are in favor of women
“We [Women] have the ability to multitask, process all the details and really execute. I’m biased, but I think female project managers are so good at that and so good at being able to balance all the personalities that might be in the room between the owner, architect, and superintendent from the field. There’s plenty of room at the table for more female project managers”. – Heather Tankersley, co-founder of Tankersley Construction
Women face a lot of challenges when entering occupations that are male dominant. This is because of the unconscious gender bias that exists in many places and needs to change. But change always starts with resistance. And that resistance can be the building block for this much-needed gender shift.
A Randstad survey suggests that the role of women in construction management in the UK increased by 9% between 2018 and 2020. Reports from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research convey that the share of women working in the construction sector has reached its highest total in the past two decades. The positions occupied by women include architects, administrators, project managers, and more.
Numerous examples can substantiate the above facts, but for now, let’s focus on a few. Geppert Bros Inc., a 95-year-old construction company, has had a woman president on board for the last quarter of a century. Mary Patricia Hilbert has overseen some of the most significant projects that the company has undertaken. Mrs. Rita Brown, President of Brown Construction Collective, is the founder and president of her own construction business. Mrs. Brown never misses an opportunity to encourage women to work in the construction sector.
Whitney Hill, the head of business development for SnapADU, is another example of a founder who hopes for a great future for women in the construction segment. She had the following to say:
“You see more women in office roles and management roles. Women look at things differently. Since we often haven’t grown up in the industry, we can bring unique and fresh ideas. We also bring different skill sets to the industry.” Whitney Hill, SnapADU
A McKinsey & Co study finds that gender-diverse companies are 25% more likely to achieve above-average profits. The same report succinctly states that construction companies with women in executive roles experienced above-average financial performance than companies with less diversity. Companies filled with 30% or more women executives in executive positions are 48% more likely to outperform their less diverse competitors.
Initiatives that make a difference
The US has plenty of initiatives for women willing to make their foray into the construction space. Recognized institutions such as the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and Women Construction Owners & Executives USA extend mentorship, marketing, and networking assistance to budding, aspiring women. The NAWIC also hosts an annual conference to discuss ways to empower women’s role in construction.
Construction companies in certain parts of the country have collaborated with the local community to offer courses to these women. New York-based Skanska USA, a subsidiary firm of Skanska AB, holds mentor groups for women in construction. Also, women owned blogs such as Construction Equality and Tradeswomen, seek to provide women with the knowledge and the opportunities to make it in the construction industry.
Recruitment, a key factor
Recruitment of women in construction companies is pivotal, but the process that gets us there must be a holistic one. Schools and educational institutions play a defining role in helping young girls and women understand the nature of the construction business and the exciting possibilities the industry provides. Companies must eliminate any gender bias in their systems to pave the way for a workforce that can surely make the construction industry dynamic. The current labor shortage the industry faces could be an opportunity for companies to recruit women.
You Deserve to be Empowered
When you are a part of Legacy Materials, know that you are joining an establishment certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). This certification is only accorded to businesses that are at least 51% owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman.
Organizations working with a WBE organization get to enjoy a range of benefits: which include tax incentives, reduced tax liabilities, loan advantages, and profit potential.
We are excited to see more and more women with immense capability enter the construction industry with their unique, creative skills. If you want to be a part of this dynamic force, give us a call today.