The construction industry is experiencing a severe worker shortage with employers looking to fill an average of nearly 225,000 jobs every month according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly 80% of construction businesses reported having a hard time finding qualified workers. The United States employed around 10.3 million people in the construction industry in 2016. Of those 10 million nearly all of them were men. It’s estimated that 99% of construction workers are men.
Less than 9.1% of jobs in the construction industry are held by women and of those jobs they average more on the administrative or design side of the job leaving women with only 1.2% of trade jobs. Out of the over 10 million construction workers in the United States, only 1 million are women.
“There’s a perception that it’s not an industry friendly to women,” says Katrina Kersch, chief operating officer of the National Center for Construction Education and Research. Kersch explains that this is due to things like scarcity of images depicting women at work in the industry and the stereotypes of male construction workers as unwelcoming to women.
Generally speaking the construction industry supports gender equality more than most other industries. Women in the construction industry make about 95 cents for every dollar a man makes as compared to the 80 cents for every dollar a man makes in other industries on average. Which is one of the main draws to the industry for women.
The United States isn’t the only country will a low number of women in the construction industry though. Women only make up around 12.4% of the United Kingdom’s construction workforce and in Canada only about 11% of women compose start apprenticeship training registrants in Red Seal Skilled trades. Even in Australia, only 12% of the construction workforce is women and they leave the industry 39% faster than men typically do.
With such a huge shortage of workers, particularly women, more people are finding it easier to find a job in the construction industry nationwide, even in leadership roles. Most leadership roles in the construction industry are held by men but there’s significant evidence that suggests that having women in leadership roles can have a beneficial impact on the company. Though only around 13% of construction firms are owned by women, 9% of those firms achieve revenues of over $500,000 or more. It’s statistics like this that prove that women in leadership roles are making a big impact on the profitability of their companies.
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