Women in Construction Week
Authored By: Kaela Naines
Women have come a long way in the workforce over the course of the last century, but there are some fields that are still overwhelmingly male dominated. You probably aren’t shocked to hear that construction is near the top of that list.
Taking a dive into the numbers, we find that women account for only 10% of the total U.S. construction workforce. Of these women very few are actually front line workers. In fact they only make up roughly 1% of the front line workers in the U.S.
Leadership positions however are on the rise for women. Women owned construction companies increased a staggering 64% from 2014-2019, with women now owning 13% of all Construction firms in the country. They also account for a combined 21% of all staff and line executives, with 44% of the top 100 contracting companies having women in executive roles!
Although the number of Women in Construction is rising, there’s still a huge push for more. City Rent a Truck recently sat down to interview several women in the industry for Women in Construction Week. We will share some of the best advice they gave for women wanting to get into construction, as well as highlight the organizations that help women in the field!
National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)
Among the most prominent organizations centered around women in this industry, is the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). NAWIC was established in 1953 in Fort Worth Texas, and has since grown to over 115 chapters across the United States. They offer their members opportunities for professional development, education, support, networking, leadership training, public service and more! With all of these available resources, they have become arguably the number one association in the country to help women build their technical skills, become leaders, and ultimately advance their careers in construction. NAWIC also founded Women in Construction Week, as an annual event to bring women together across the country.
Women Construction Owners and Executives (WCOE)
Similar to NAWIC, The Women Construction Owners and Executives (WCOE) was established as a resource for women in construction, however, as the title indicates, WCOE is focused more specifically on women in executive roles. The mission and core purpose of WCOE is as follows:
- To promote the role of women-owned businesses in the construction industry.
- To advance women in executive management positions within the industry.
- To provide resources to enhance the professional development of every member.
- To provide a network of executive women in the construction industry for peer-to-peer assistance and information.
- To monitor and pursue legislation advantageous to the business community in general and the construction industry in particular
Both NAWIC and WCOE host conferences and other networking events throughout the year for their members.
Advice from Current Women in Construction to Future Women in Construction
- Find a Mentor. There are a lot of great women with invaluable experience and advice already in the industry. Getting involved in organizations like NAWIC and WCOE is an easy way to find a great mentor to help you along your path.
- Technology has made being in construction easier for women on the frontlines than ever before. With the tools and machinery at our disposal today, you no longer need to lift 100+ pounds to do well in the field.
- There is a lot of money to be made in the industry, and the demand for construction workers is at an almost all time high. It is a great career opportunity with a very high ceiling for any woman who is driven and willing to work hard.
- Have thick skin. It’s not always going to be easy for a woman in the construction industry, but it will be worth it. Take the good with the bad, and keep moving towards your goals.
- Jump in. Sometimes all it takes is some courage and a leap of faith.