Attracting Women to Construction

The National Association of Women in Construction recorded in 2014, women accounted for only 8.9% of construction workers in the United States. This relatively untapped resource has interested construction companies who are desperate to make up for the labor shortage in the United States. According to the National Association of Homebuilders, there is a growing figure of 200,000 construction jobs that remain unfilled. For this reason, companies are having to pay their construction workers more to entice them to stay at the company. In addition, companies are looking into attracting more women into the field. Attracting more women to construction would be a great step towards solving the labor shortage.  It will also allow companies to operate more efficiently by having an adequate amount of workers.

% of Women in Fields
Image source: osha.gov

Young Women Just Aren’t Interested

One of the main reasons that women tend to not enter the construction worker profession is because of societal notions that construction is a male-only occupation. A Gallup Poll Panel recorded that less than 1% of female teens wanted to work in the construction field. These views are greatly enduring and tend to push women to other fields besides construction. To work against this construction companies need to target young women entering the workforce through advertisement. For example, construction companies can utilize career fairs at high schools.  This gives companies a condensed and targeted source of new worker and an opportunity to show the benefits of working in construction.

Teen Career Picks
Image source: gallup.com

A Historical Example

In addition to advertising to women entering the workforce for the first time, it is also vital for companies to target all women in the United States. The United States’ economy during World War II is as an example of how construction companies successfully advertised to women in order to keep the industries going. During WWII thousands of construction/industrial jobs were left vacant in the United States. The most famous example is the ‘Rosie the Riveter” poster which portrayed the positive message of “We can do it!”

Rosie the Riveter
Rosie the Riveter: advertisement used during WWII

This message used patriotism to convince women to enter the construction industry. This style of advertising will not work today, our culture has simply changed so much.  However, it does show that a women-centric advertising campaign in industrial and construction roles is the right start. It will take some trial and error, but it is possible to increase women’s participation in the construction field. It is the industry’s responsibility to appeal to all workers, otherwise the U.S. infrastructure and economy will suffer for it.

Original sources: fortune.com, payscale.com, nawic.org, nahb.org