A better outlook for AEC, the built environment, and the next generation of builders.

Today, more women have entered the construction industry than ever before. According to research by McKinsey & Company, more companies with a diverse gender representation have experienced better workplace culture, professional development, diversification of perspectives, and better profits. Nonetheless, the construction industry remains one of the most male-dominated industries in the world today. Of all construction workers, only 10.8% are female. Even more unbalanced is the number of women on a job site’s front lines—only one woman for every 100 workers in the field. Considering that women make up 47% of all employed individuals, the industry only benefits from about 1.25% of women in the workforce.

In an industry that offers a handful of opportunities and benefits, career stability, advances in technology, higher employee satisfaction, and a productive and collaborative environment, it leaves you wondering why aren’t there more women across the board in construction?

There isn’t just one reason to blame. Still, there are essential factors to consider, such as recruitment techniques, workplace culture and discrimination, properly fitting personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety gear for women, and gender pay gaps.

To continue a positive momentum forward as an industry, it takes a commitment from everyone. We must hold each other accountable and have continued conversations to build more equity in the industry and balance the construction workforce for the better. At OAC, we are proud to say that women make up 46% of our workforce. But we also recognize that these earnings are only attainable with our male coworkers, partners, mentors, and industry support.

It takes more than a national month, recognized week, and an international holiday once a year to see change, to support, and to advance women in the field. Here’s a list of steps you can take to attract and retain more women in the industry for a better and brighter future.

  • Evaluate your work culture for a more inclusive environment for both men and women.
  • Create a diversity and inclusion council with the representation of different genders, backgrounds, and positions.
  • Work with your Human Resources department to break down barriers of subconscious bias.
  • Have more representation from female employee’s in the recruitment process.
  • Adopt policies and benefits that support both genders, such as maternity and paternity leave or PPE fitting for both genders.
  • Measure, report, and take action on diversity job satisfaction, turnover, and long-term well-being.

We can all agree we’ve come a long way. Let’s continue to aim higher and do better as an industry, for each other, and for the next wave of builders. If you’re looking to support women in construction or looking for support yourself, check out the organizations and groups below.

National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is a national organization supporting women in construction and other trades with development opportunities, education, networking, and leadership training.

Construction Real Estate Women (CREW) brings together women involved in the many aspects of commercial real estate to exchange information, develop business contacts and help each other succeed professionally. Today, CREW Network is the premier business network dedicated to transforming the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally.

Women in Structural Engineering (WiSE) is a network of women structural engineers around the country. This group is not formally a part of any professional organization, rather it just provides opportunities for women structural engineers to connect.

Women in Non-Traditional Employment Roles (WINTER) is a non-profit work development program based out of East Los Angeles whose mission is to “train, educate, and prepare women and youth for transformative careers in the construction industry.