Welcome back to part two of our Women in Construction series. Previously, we examined the challenges women face in the construction industry. Today we’ll learn about the benefits of having women in construction and explore different ways to attract and retain female employees in the industry.

Busting Barriers

Despite outdated gender norms and subconscious bias in the construction industry, women have made substantial gains over the last 50 years in being significant contributors to the space. In 1970, women made up less than 1% of the construction workforce. By 1995, that number had increased to 2.3%. In 2010, women made up 8.9% of the construction workforce, and by 2020, that number increased to 10.9%. Now, women own 13% of construction companies – a 94% increase since 2007!

Women are becoming a more prominent fixture in the construction industry with more than 36% of women are in leadership roles. Approximately the same (36%) are in sales and office roles, while the remainder are in construction, maintenance and service roles. Women bring diversity in thought, positively affect company culture, and have unique problem-solving skills. Our private and public spaces have been built by an industry that is 89% male, and women not only bring a fresh perspective but men and women working together strike a balance that benefits the rest of society. Greater gender diversity in the construction industry will radically change the way we move, work, play and live for the better.

Attracting More Women to Construction

Attia Lawrence, a project manager with Hughes General Contractors, said, “What I love about the construction industry is that I get to problem solve every day and see concepts become tangible. I love breaking stereotypes and proving that I can do the job just as well as anyone else. I’ve overcome challenges by asking questions, absorbing all the information that I can, and really not being afraid to speak up and voice my opinions or offer solutions. For women who are looking at joining the construction industry, do it! Don’t be afraid. You bring value to the table and it’s what we need.”

While the number of women in the construction industry has risen over the past two decades, there is more to do to to address stereotypes and create a culture that helps women feel more accepted and command as much respect in these trades as men. Companies stand to gain higher levels of performance from greater gender diversity. A recent McKinsey & Co. report revealed a substantial financial advantage for companies where women make up more than 30% of the workforce. Here are three easy ways we can encourage women to join the construction industry and retain talent:

    • 1. Encourage mentorship. According to a CWIT survey, 22% of female respondents had never worked with another woman. Social isolation can result in poor mental health, increased stress and greater fear of assault. Girls aspiring to be in construction should see women in these roles. The exposure and access to female mentors is essential for both personal and career growth.

Video-based microlearning apps like Tyfoom make it easy for female mentors to connect with other women in construction and share industry knowledge. Managers and employees can create and share content with best practices in minutes, boosting confidence and helping women find more success in their trade, which in turn increases the overall productivity and profitability of the company.

    • 2. Increase training opportunities. The construction industry is facing a huge labor gap. It is estimated that the industry will need over 500,000 workers to keep pace with current demand. With fewer young people entering the trades, the labor shortage in the industry presents an opportunity to hire even more women in construction jobs.

In a NIOSH study, 39% of women reported wishing they had been better trained before working on a construction site. Organizations can attract and retain women by offering on-the-job training and continuing education. Video-based microlearning apps like Tyfoom provide bite-sized chunks of content in the form of daily 1- to 2-minute engaging training videos. Consistent delivery and microlearning techniques make it easy for learners to consume and retain new concepts. With the Tyfoom app at their fingertips, employees can access their daily learning anytime, anywhere.

Olga de la Cruz, President of Painter1 of Greater Salt Lake, related, “When I left my corporate job and came into construction, it was lonely being a woman in a predominately male environment. I joined Women in Construction which not only supports women in the field, but also creates awareness that women do belong in this industry. We need more women. It’s not just a female empowerment issue, it’s a labor issue. Construction is a great place for women to be.”

Building the Future

The need for more women in construction is not just about achieving gender balance. It is a strategic imperative for an industry seeking innovation, adaptability, and sustainable growth. By dispelling stereotypes, encouraging safer work environments and embracing new perspectives, the construction industry can pave the way for a future where the contributions of women are integral to its success.

Tyfoom recognizes and celebrates the vital role women play in shaping the future of construction and is a proud partner of Women in Construction. To learn more about how you can revolutionize employee training, communication and engagement for both women and men in your organization, schedule a meeting to speak with a Tyfoom training consultant.