It’s not your father’s industry anymore. With women succeeding in the field, from interns to owners, construction is diversifying.
As you consider the career options that are available in construction, you may think, that’s great for my son, but it wouldn’t be appropriate for my daughter, right? Nope. Women in construction are thriving and there’s definitely room at the table for them.
In fact, the construction industry NEEDS women choosing construction. With the skilled workforce shortage facing the industry, recruiting women is an important step to building a pipeline to close the skills gap.
But is it right for your daughter or the young women in your life?
Yes! Construction can be a great career for them and not just in administrative roles. From welders to electricians to crane operators to masons to riggers and more, craftswomen have opportunities to learn skills and earn high salaries.
This may be a surprise, but the construction industry is ahead of the game when it comes to equal pay for women. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reports that women earn almost 96 cents for every dollar a man earns in the construction industry, compared to the U.S. average of 80 cents. The concentration on hard skills in the industry helps support equality regardless of gender.
And the physical constraints that make construction seem like a “man’s world”? They aren’t in play anymore. Debbie Dickinson, CEO of Crane Industry Services, points out that the “construction world has changed” partly because the “equipment is more sophisticated today.”
With apprenticeship programs geared toward recruiting women and associations offering support and mentorship, women are learning skills with the benefit of mentors in the industry. One piece of advice for women entering the industry from women already working in construction is to take advantage of the associations that exist; they are an excellent place to network, find out about apprenticeships and even train up in skills.
There are organizations for secondary students as well! Power Up is one that introduces construction to girls and their parents through workshops with hands-on activities. With the support of the industry, these students are learning about the opportunities for careers and the skills they could master.
Other associations may not be only for females but are inclusive in nature. From craft classes at schools to competitions such as SkillsUSA, girls are making their marks. In fact, the national 2018 postsecondary SkillsUSA masonry winner is female. Ashton White is currently an intern with a construction company and is working in the field laying brick and block. As the first person in her family to enter the industry, Ashton has their support and enthusiasm for doing something that she enjoys.
At the heart of it, satisfaction in doing a job well, contentment in financial security and enthusiasm for following a passion is what parents and mentors want for the male AND female children in their lives.
The industry opens the door to a whole new world that many women and girls haven’t considered. It’s worth learning how to map out a career in construction!