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Doing more for women in the construction industry

Mar 01, 2023

It’s not just men wearing hard hats and steel-toed boots in construction. From architects and engineers to electricians and laborers, women have made their mark and left an indelible imprint on the construction sector. But while it’s clear a strong foundation for women in construction has been built, there’s still more work that needs to be done.

What women can bring to construction

With the continued pressure of workforce shortages in construction, it’s important that firms engage a vital source of talent to advance the industry by actively promoting gender diversity.

For your firm, recruiting women can help you:  

Find new talent

Many firms are in a position of having access and willingness to take on larger jobs but lack the workers required to complete them.

According to the Associated General Contractors of America 2024 construction outlook survey, 77% of respondents said that they were having a hard time filling some or all salaried or hourly craft positions, and 63% said that an insufficient supply of workers was one of their biggest concerns.

Despite this, women still only represent 10% of the construction industry.

Recruiting women in trade work and leadership roles can help address the industry’s current labor challenges, including the aging workforce and a lack of skilled workers. By actively seeking out and training women for these roles, your firm can increase your talent pool and help ensure a sustainable workforce for the future.

Women make up nearly half of the available labor on the market. If women aren’t being included in discussions about leadership and trade positions, then that’s half of the possible workforce being overlooked.

Gain a new perspective  

Apart from the need for more workers, increasing the number of women at firms also brings intangible benefits.

The inclusion of women in construction brings a fresh perspective to an industry that has been historically dominated by men. Women can offer different backgrounds, thought processes, and dialogues when making decisions. This diversity of thought leads to innovative ideas and approaches that can improve operations and enhance competitiveness.

In the field, this can be especially necessary. Women are still newer to these aspects of construction, so they’re able to question traditions and methods that may need to be updated and approach challenges differently. With diversity comes new ideas on how to improve your operation and compete more effectively.

How to engage women in your construction firm

If you want to include women in your firm, the key is to make your working environment feel welcome.

Women in leadership positions are already doing this work on a national level through organizations such as the National Association of Women in Construction, as well as within their own companies. But your firm can still do more.

To create a more inclusive environment, start with your messaging. Highlight the way that your business can provide women with opportunities to get to their ideal future career state.

It’s also important to set standards of behavior that are clearly communicated, and equally enforced, for all employees.

Part of that means equipping your employees with the knowledge they need to be good coworkers in a diverse environment. Provide companywide training opportunities in areas such as diversity, equity and inclusion; unconscious bias; and sensitivity. Doing so will better help employees understand their individual responsibilities in creating a safe, welcoming and professional workplace for everyone.

It’s also important to focus on how you’re building up your current and next-generation leadership. A strong leadership development program can help ensure that your managers, supervisors and other leaders are fostering a better experience for historically underrepresented individuals.

Creating an inclusive environment will help you attract not only more women into your firm, but also diversity of all types.

How Wipfli can help

Wipfli is here to help support your construction firm its current challenges and future development. Our experienced consultants can offer guidance on anything from organizational performance to complicated tax regulations to digital transformation. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve more.

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Author(s)

Tina Nazier, MBA, CPC
Director
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