Women in the Construction Workforce

Women currently make up almost half of the US workforce, their participation has grown from 43% in 1985 to 47% in 2010. 

From 1985 to 2010, women’s participation in the construction industry grew from 8% to 9%. Although women are underrepresented in the construction industry as a whole, within the industry there has been a shift in their roles, women in managerial and professional positions grew from 15.8% to 31.3% of the total population of women in construction during the same time period. The 31.3% however represents only 2.8% of the female workforce in the industry.

Women’s labor force participation rates are expected to remain high and it is estimated that the overall number of women employees in the US will increase by more than 5 million by 2020. How will the construction industry ensure it benefits from this increase?

Motivated workers perform better contributing to the overall success of a company, and in the case of the construction industry contributing to the successful completion of a building, highway or other project. Understanding what motivates workers, enables organizations to tailor their Human Resource practices for hiring, retaining and growing their employees. While motivating all employees is important, those industries looking to diversify their workforce, such as the construction industry, must seek to understand what motivates women in order to attract and retain the best female talent. There is a business benefit to this goal. In 2014, Forbes reported “…in the companies that have the top 20% of financial performance, 27% of leaders are women. Among the bottom 20% of financial performers, only 19% of leaders are women.” Women will not make it to leadership positions unless companies understand what motivates them. 

In our next blog we will explore these motivations.