As March 8 is International Women’s Day, here is a look at how women are faring in construction.
A new white paper from The National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) released on March 6, In Her Own Words: Improving Project Outcomes was compiled from interviews with 176 tradeswomen.
“The U.S. economy is at a critical juncture,” said Boyd Worsham, CEO of NCCER, in a statement. “We need to re-shore manufacturing, decarbonize energy, and upgrade our infrastructure. As we continue to struggle in building a workforce to fulfill these needs, we must recognize that we are not effectively appealing to the largest percentage of the population—women—in our recruiting and retention efforts.”
The white paper highlights the unique benefits women bring to the construction workforce, the obstacles they encounter getting in and staying in the industry, and their advice on what contractors can do to recruit and retain more women.
“Regarding women simply as a way to make up for the quantity gap in the construction workforce ignores the unique qualities they bring to the job site,” said Dr. Tim Taylor, Director of Research for NCCER, in a statement.
NCCER note that women shared their recommendations on ways to improve both recruitment and retention of women both on project sites and in the industry overall. Suggestions were made on how to "tackle obstacles that the industry has worked on for years and brought up other hurdles that may be surprising for some."
“With an expected shortage of 1.9 million craft professionals through 2025, there is a tremendous opportunity for women to get involved in an industry that offers competitive wages, benefits, and career growth,” said Jennifer Wilkerson, NCCER Vice President of Innovation and Advancement, in a statement. “If we want construction careers to be a viable option for all people, we have to change the culture and perception of our industry, starting with our own projects.”