What the World Needs Now: More Women in Construction Please

If you are looking for answers to the construction industry labor shortage, women can not only help you solve the problem, they very well could be the answer to it.

Written by Jackie Falla | March 10, 2021

woman at construction site

It isn’t hard to answer the question – what opportunities exist for women in the construction industry, I just don’t want to do it without acknowledging all the female pathfinders that burst through the barriers of male dominated industries before us. Janet Guthrie zipped across the finish line of the Daytona 500 more than a decade before Danica Patrick was born. Madame Curie was the first female to win the Noble Prize, and the very first person to win it twice – the very first! Rosa Parks sat on a seat in the front of the bus, and built a bridge to change in America. Annie Duke became the first female to enter the World Series Poker Hall of Fame, and what of Sarah Breedlove, Stephanie Kwolek, Ada Lovelace and Michele Obama? Where would our industry be without entrepreneurs, Kevlar, computer programming, and the assurance that we belong at the table, in the field, or wherever the heck we choose to be. Bam, bam, bam, down came the barriers, but still there is work to do. It’s work worth doing, because on the other side of it there is a payday, there is opportunity, there are milestones to achieve, and some of you out there reading this, you, and you, and you too, can, and will, become part of our courageous, intelligent, ambitious, and passionate female force, forcing the numbers to climb from 9% to greater and greater heights. I hope that you will consider this the waving of the green flag, indicating that the race has begun, and having received an invitation, you have your foot on the pedal, prepared to speed your way to success.

Opportunity Knocks

So where is it, this opportunity? It’s in the field, and in the office, as an engineer or electrician, a marketing professional or a mechanic, a project manager or a plumber. Construction is a booming industry, one where the need outstrips the available workforce. This reality represents an unprecedented opening for women, and underrepresented groups to gain entry. Tight labor markets have a history of creating change. Send the men to war, get the women to work in the factories, agriculture, the ship building industry, and even on the baseball diamond. If you are looking for answers to the construction industry labor shortage, women can not only help you solve the problem, they very well could be the answer to it.

Pay Gap

In a refreshing twist of fate, construction on average brings in higher wages than many other professions that are typically the domain of women. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women are paid 81.1 cents for every dollar a full-time working man receives, in the construction industry that gap is nearly closed at 95.7 cents.   Trade professionals that enter a union have the additional benefit of being trained in their profession, their annual dues being the only price of entry. Think, no college loans to pay off, and the opportunity to make a six figure income. Construction Professionals that choose to take the college route, and receive a degree in civil engineering, construction management, or mechanical engineering, can expect to receive an annual wage of $98,000., according to the BLS.

Out with the Old in with the New

Not only do we expect to see construction jobs increase by over 10% in the next 7 years, there is an aging population of professionals that are slated to retire, that make up 41% of our current workforce. They will leave General Superintendent, Foreman, and Operational Leadership positions open and available for the taking.

If the opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourself is appealing, to make a living that not only provides security and flexibility, but offers you the chance to pave the way for future generations is attractive to you, construction just might carry you across the finish line.

Construction Technology, Women in construction

Jackie Falla Jackie Falla is the Director of Client Services for Elaine Construction, a woman-owned construction firm in Greater Boston. She is also an accomplished blogger on a variety of topics and is actively involved in several industry organizations such as CoreNet Global|New England, Society of College and University Planners, and Woman’s Exchange for Leadership and Life.