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Women in the Construction Workforce

The construction industry has grown exponentially in recent years. As the economy improves year over year, construction firms have been able to regain their market value and grow to their pre-recession size. Construction is an industry few people believe to be a viable field, but it is surprisingly one of the highest-paying trades that does not require a post-secondary education. With so much potential for this line of work, it is surprising that so many women still face issues breaking into this field.

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Women make up less than 3% of construction and extraction labor in America. Women’s minimal representation in the construction workforce has remained stagnant for over thirty years and it is growing at a very slow rate. 8.9% of the construction industry overall (including management, finance and business administration) are women. This is an especially low percentage even for women in other male-dominated industries. Construction labor is difficult for women to find jobs due to hiring discrimination, and even harder for them to pursue long-term because of ongoing sexual harassment and unfair opportunities on the job.

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According to a study by The Department of Labor, 88% of female construction workers reported sexual harassment on the job, whereas 25% of women in other fields report the same issue. According to the National Women’s Law Center, most women in construction are confined to office positions even though women are equally as capable of fulfilling labor intensive (and therefore higher paying) jobs as men. This is a major problem that should be stopped by the construction company leadership, but it isn't. Construction is a very lucrative field, much more than female-dominated fields such as nursing or administration work, but it is very difficult for a woman to find and keep a construction job.

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Aside from the issues women face in the workforce, growth in the construction industry has opened doors for women. Though the percentage of women overall in the industry is small, 46% of new jobs in construction went to women. This change in the workforce could be caused by many factors. Before, most construction jobs were filed by those who did not choose to pursue a college education. But now, many schools place more emphasis on construction industry-related fields, such as management, administration and even engineering. This encourages educated women to take on male-dominated careers and climb to upper-level management in construction firms.

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Many women are also taking on executive positions in construction companies. Female entrepreneurs own approximately 7% of current construction companies. While this percentage may be small, it gives hope for women who may want to someday own their own construction companies too. Female owned-construction firms are more likely to uphold higher standards of gender equity than others that are still indoctrinated into the male-dominated construction stereotypes.

Perseverance Staffing, LLC, helps skilled workers - both women and men - find jobs in lucrative and fulfilling careers in construction. Contact us for more information.

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