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We all would agree that the sight of women dominating the gender chart in the architecture, engineering, construction, and operation (AECO) industry is rare.?

According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020, “women make up about 10.3% of the construction industry workforce”. This percentage has remained relatively consistent for nearly ten years, with women representing 9-10% of the industry’s workforce since 2010. A Management Today 2020 report mentions that only 5% of senior managers in the UK construction industry are women. The percentage of women in the construction industry workforce is comparatively lower, but it is essential to look at the related reasons and trends to be able to anticipate their growth in the industry in the future.

Why should women choose the construction industry? 

Let us explore some of the benefits of why women should consider a career in construction:

  • Career growth:?The construction industry offers ample career growth and development opportunities. Women can move up the ranks and take on leadership positions, eventually becoming CEOs or senior executives.?
  • Growing demand: The construction industry is experiencing a growing demand for skilled workers as global population growth and urbanization drive the need for new infrastructure and housing. This means ample opportunities exist for women to enter the industry and build rewarding careers.?
  • High earning potential: As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020, “the median annual wage for women working in construction occupations was $41,220, which is higher than the median annual wage for women in administrative and support roles ($38,180) and education, training, and library occupations.”
  • Job satisfaction: The construction industry can provide immense job satisfaction as it involves working on diverse projects that significantly impact the built environment. Working in construction can give a sense of accomplishment and pride in the tangible results of their work.
  • The potential for equal opportunities: With more women entering the construction industry in the past few years, there is a growing emphasis on equal opportunities. This has led to more job openings and greater flexibility in working hours, making it easier for women to balance their work and personal lives.

What are the barriers faced by women in the construction industry? 

Women have historically been underrepresented despite the benefits of working in the construction industry. Even now, women must overcome several challenges to move up the ladder in the construction industry. Some of the critical barriers include the following:

  • Gender bias: The construction industry has traditionally been male-centric, and gender bias and stereotypes persist. Women may face discrimination in hiring and promotions and may be looked at as less competent or less dedicated to their careers than their male counterparts.?
  • Pay gap:?Like many other industries, the construction industry, too, has a gender pay gap. According to a National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) report, “the gender pay gap is significantly smaller in construction occupations, with women earning on average 95.5 percent of what men make”.
  • Lack of mentorship and representation: Women may need more role models and mentors in the industry, making navigating career paths and building networks easier. Without visible representation in leadership roles, it can be difficult for women to envision themselves in positions typically managed by men.
  • Physical demands and safety concerns: Some jobs in the construction industry require physical strength, which might hinder women who may face physical limitations. Additionally, some women might worry about the safety protocols on the work sites.

What are some of the leadership strategies for women in construction? 

Here are some leadership strategies for women in the construction industry:

  • Communicate well and confidently lead: They should believe in their abilities and knowledge and not fear failure. Confidence can help them gain credibility among their team and coworkers. Communication is central to effective leadership; they must listen carefully, express their ideas clearly, and be open to feedback.
  • Set goals and delegate: Women must set clear, measurable goals for themselves and their teams. This can help them stay focused and motivated and ensure that they are making progress. Women in leadership positions should delegate responsibilities, allowing the leaders more time to focus on high-level activities.?
  • Seek training and development opportunities:?Continued education and training can help women develop new skills and stay current on industry trends. They could find themselves a good mentor as it’s a great way to build leadership skills.?

The construction industry has traditionally been male-dominated, but that is changing. With more women entering the industry and taking on leadership roles, there is a growing recognition that gender diversity is essential for the industry’s success. It can be improved through mentorship programs, recruitment efforts targeted toward women, and training to eliminate bias.

Are you interested in reading more about the BIM & construction industry? Check out our blogs section!

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