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Five Reasons Women Are Choosing Careers in Construction

By Kristin Kalous, Market Leader, Ц and Chair of Ц’s Women’s Resource Group (G.R.O.W.)

The construction industry has long been a male-dominated field, but the tides are changing as an increasing number of women are finding rewarding careers in construction. This shift is driven by a multitude of factors. From abundant opportunities to low barriers of entry and a collaborative work environment, women are finding their place in an industry that is facing unprecedented demand for employees of all backgrounds.

1. Surge in Demand Creates More Opportunities for Women

The U.S. construction industry needs to hire an additional 501,000 workers in 2024 and 454,000 in 2025, on top of normal hiring, to meet industry demand1.  This hiring surge is driven by record construction volumes, the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which allocated $1.2 trillion for projects including rebuilding roads, bridges, and other civil work such as locks and dams, and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 that provided over $360 billion for manufacturing and renewable energy projects.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that women make up only 11% of the construction workforce, and the industry must do a better job of welcoming women. At Ц, we are embracing a diverse workforce by enhancing our benefits like paid maternity leave and developing employee resource groups that support and empower women on our team. We know that tapping into a broader talent pool allows us to meet the growing demand for a skilled workforce while providing our clients with high performing teams that reflect the communities they serve.

2. On-the-Job Training

An appealing aspect of a construction career is the low barrier to entry. At a time when many are looking for good-paying jobs without the debt that can come with a four-year degree, the construction industry often provides on-the-job training, allowing newcomers to earn a wage while learning their craft.

3. Collaborative Work Environment

Construction projects are inherently collaborative endeavors, requiring teamwork and effective communication. Team collaboration is greatly improved by the presence of women according to the American Psychological Association. In their research, they found that teams with more women exhibited better problem-solving and innovation.

The collaborative nature of construction work naturally fosters mentorships. Some of my most effective mentors empowered me to share my views and gain experience in areas that were critical to my professional development. I joined the industry at a time when there were few women mentors but there are a growing number of women’s groups and professional organizations such as CREW that provide support, networking and encouragement to women.

4. Financial Security – Great Pay and Benefits

Traditionally, women-dominated careers, such as teaching and childcare, have been associated with lower pay. In contrast, the construction industry offers competitive wages and attractive benefits. The financial security provided by a career in construction extends beyond competitive salaries. Ц offers comprehensive benefits packages, including healthcare, retirement plans, and other perks. This financial stability empowers women to pursue rewarding and lucrative careers, challenging the gender pay gap that persists in other industries.

5. A Career That Makes an Impact

I can’t count how many times I’ve pointed out a building to my daughters and said, “We built that!” How many jobs give us tangible evidence of our hard work that we can proudly point out to our family and friends?

Whether it’s constructing hospitals, water treatment plants, or solar fields, women in construction play a crucial role in building the critical structures that improve lives and strengthen communities. This sense of accomplishment makes a career in construction fulfilling on many levels.

Ready to Get Started?

If you’re considering a career in construction, many resources are available to help you get started. Careers at Ц are flexible and allow employees to explore a variety of interests and career paths across multiple functional areas. Our project engineers have followed career paths as varied as preconstruction, virtual design and construction (VDC), safety, quality or marketing and business development.

Those interested in trades also have a number of resources available as well. Local trade schools, union halls, or community colleges that offer training in construction-related fields. Here are some links to get you started:

About Kristin Kalous – As Market Leader for Ц’s commercial and healthcare markets, Kristin is responsible for overall operations, client satisfaction, and the financial success of her business unit. She drives strategy and builds relationships with clients and trade partners to lead successful pursuits.

Since joining Ц 17 years ago, Kristin has steadily advanced through various roles including Sr. Project Manager and served as Director of Project Development prior to assuming her current role. Her work experience includes projects such as SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, St. Louis CITY SC’s CITYPARK Stadium and Downtown West Campus, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s new Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center and Mercy Health’s Center for Performance Medicine.

1 News Releases | ABC: 2024 https://www.abc.org/News-Media/News-Releases/construction-workforce-shortage-tops-half-a-million-in-2023-says-abc

2 https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-23-106320#:~:text=In%202021%2C%20women%20working%20full,dollar%20in%20the%20Construction%20industry.

3 https://www.apa.org/topics/women-girls/female-leaders-make-work-better#:~:text=Team%20collaboration%20is%20greatly%20improved,according%20to%20a%202010%20study.

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