How to Hire More Women into Construction Roles

With a seemingly never-ending run of labor shortages, contractors may need to turn to a pool left largely untapped, and that is a pool of talented women. Making up 47% of the United States labor force, only 11% of women comprise the construction industry, highlighting a need for hire.

Though it may seem simple enough, to hire more women, that is not the case. A compilation of poor recruitment efforts coupled with unfair stereotypes of what women can and can’t do when it comes to the jobsite continues to block the development of this very much capable workforce.

Present and Owner of Red Tree Builders Brandon Bryant says these trends are changing. His own company is made up of 40% women, and that is because of Bryant’s intentional seeking out of female employees, then providing them with an environment that allows them to thrive.

According to the National Association of Home Builder (NAHB) while asking the question, how can contractors hire more women into roles where they can thrive?; the strategies to hiring include:

  • It starts with recruitment. Construction company leadership needs to be proactive in recruiting women to fill open positions. For Bryant’s company, that means visiting trade schools that are training women in construction-related jobs. Whereas many contractors demand only employees with years of experience, Bryant and his team place considerable value on training as well. “If someone is willing to go into debt to be trained, that shows a really deep level of commitment,” Bryant said.

    Intangibles such as creativity and work ethic can be more important than a track record of construction jobs. “I can teach someone how to build a house,” Bryant said. “I can’t teach someone to be responsible or loyal.” On candidates’ resumes, look for experience that can be transferable to a jobsite, even if those experiences aren’t construction related.

  • Promote the rewards. A selling point is undoubtedly pay. According to the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), women in construction earn on average 95.5% of what men make. Although still not equal, it is a far smaller gap than most industries: Women in the U.S. earn on average 82.9% of their male counterparts’ wages.

    With that said, the rewards of working in construction extend beyond pay. It is a chance to be creative, make an impact on a community, and leave a legacy, Bryant says. “There’s not many jobs that allow you to do all that,” he added.

  • Communicate diversity of roles. With the proper training and equipment, women can learn to perform any task on a jobsite — from operating forklifts to painting and cleanup. But construction work stretches beyond field work. In Bryant’s company, women fill roles such as electrician, but also project manager and director of operations. There is a wealth of opportunities for women to pursue leadership, management and ownership roles in today’s construction industry.

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