New Survey Looks at the Growing Workforce of Women in the Construction Industry
By Laura Softley, GL UW Operations Manager
Construction has traditionally been a male-dominated field. However, over the past several years, the sector has experienced a growing number of women joining the industry and working in a variety of roles. Today, women make up 11% of the construction industry, equating to over 1 million women in the field of construction.
Survey Says: Women Love Working in Construction!
According to the 2022 Women in Construction Survey conducted by Levelset, 80% of women polled said they loved working in construction (despite being a highly underrepresented demographic). Survey participants said the top six reasons they are drawn to the industry are:
1. Flexible work schedules
2. Pride in creating a project
3. Being able to use creativity to solve problems
4. Helping customers
5. An ever-changing work environment
6. Working with a wide variety of people
Another key reason for women entering the field are the opportunities for advancement. In fact, 69% of survey participants said they have opportunities for growth with their current employer, with 86% saying their company would support training opportunities.
“80% of women polled said they loved working in construction (despite being a highly underrepresented demographic).”
– Levelset, 2022 Women in Construction Survey
Who are the Women Entering the Field of Construction?
Surprisingly, more younger women are entering the construction field. This year, 47% of women working in construction are under age 45, compared with 33% in 2021.
Over the past few years, the roles women have held in the industry continue to vary slightly; however, the overwhelming number of jobs remain in the area of administration. According to the survey, the following are roles currently occupied by women in the construction industry:
• Office Managers & Administrators: 39%
• Presidents & CEOs: 10.5%
• Accountants: 10%
• Controllers: 9%
• Administrative Assistants: 7%
• Other executive Roles: 5.5%
• Laborers or Tradesmen: 2%
• Sales: 1%
“[Women] are often relegated to strictly administrative or accounting positions within the industry. [Those] who are able to break through on the production side [can have a] significant impact that makes a company stronger and more adaptable to the needs of their clients.” Source: Controller for a general contractor as reported by Levelset.
Equal Work for Equal Pay
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women in construction managerial roles in 2020 made just 86 cents to the dollar compared with men. For women working in installation, maintenance or repair occupations, that figure was 81 cents on the dollar. However, the overall pay gap between men and women in construction is the lowest of any U.S. industry, with women earning about 99.1% of their male counterparts’ salaries.
The question remains, are women and men in the construction industry getting paid equally to do the same work? Among the survey participants, 26.4% said that at their company, they strongly believe men and women are paid equally for doing the same job, 27.7% said they just agree, 27.5% had no opinion, 14.3% disagreed, and 4% strongly disagreed.
However, as in most industries, the gender wage gap in the construction industry is dependent on several factors, with wages earned often being based on things such as training and previous experience, job title, the state/location and even the type of project/craft.
Women are slowly bringing about needed change in the construction industry. While there may still be a long way to go, the 2022 survey shows us that more women are finding work in construction to be rewarding, with abundant opportunities for growth and improvement.
Laura Softley is an Underwriting Operations Manager for Builders & Tradesmen's Insurance Services, Inc., an Amynta Group Company
If you’re a retail insurance broker with construction industry clients, Builders & Tradesmen’s Insurance Services Inc. offers a comprehensive contractor general liability program that’s backed by CNA, one of the largest U.S. commercial property and casualty insurance companies.
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