Motivating Women in the Construction Industry

As part of a Master’s Degree research project, I undertook a survey of over 500 construction managers employed in the US and asked them to rank 12 motivation factors, sourced from literature to determine, if gender played a role in motivation. Those factors included: camaraderie or peer motivation, feeling valued, satisfaction with your direct supervisor, intrinsic desire to do a good job, having all the tools to be successful, feeling encouraged and recognized, having an impact, opportunity to grow professionally, meeting customer needs, money and benefits, positive company management and belief in the company. Respondents were asked to rank the factors, provide their gender and years of experience in the industry.  Respondents were split almost 50/50 on gender and years of experience.

Overall the results indicate that men and women are motivated by the “intrinsic desire to do a good job” and by “meeting the needs of clients/customers” with both of these factors within the top three of all respondents in every grouping. In looking deeper at the motivation of women, in every category “feeling valued” is ranked as their top motivation factor, men rank “intrinsic desire to do a good job” highest across all categories.  The key differentiation point between men and women is “feeling valued” as in both work experience sectors there is a large variance between genders. Understanding how to make women feel valued for the work they do, can help companies craft recruiting and retention programs specifically targeted at women.  Progressive solutions such as flexible work hours, ability to work from home and alternative career paths for women with families may help retain women by illustrating the company cares for the needs of the female workforce. Additionally, mentoring programs and leadership development opportunities specifically for women can further motivate women by allowing them to see an investment in their growth. Finally, recognizing that not only gender but years in the workforce impact the motivation of construction managers can help companies in recruiting and retaining the best talent both male and female.