Did you grow up helping your parents maintain your home? Do you like working with your hands, versus sitting at a desk or staring at a computer all day? Are you looking for a career where you can make more money? Maybe it's time to explore the many opportunities for women in construction, and you can with our profiles here at Home Tips for Women.
Statistics About Women in Construction
Getting a job today is tougher than it's been for many years. Even a college degree doesn't a guarantee a high paying job. Once you've got a job, long term employment is rare, so it's important to build skills that transfer easily from one company to another. And some jobs aren't easy to move offshore, which is another reason why more women ought to consider working in construction.
The big news though, is how much women in construction can make. Fortune's 20 Best Paying Jobs for Women in 2015, in eighth place is “helper, construction trades” and offered these statistics:
- Median weekly earnings for women in construction is $1,779.
- Approximate median annual earnings are $92,508.
- Women represent 4 percent of the profession, so there's a lot of opportunity.
- Average women's earnings are significantly higher or 286% of men's earnings.
To put these numbers into perspective, here are some statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Women were 8.9 percent (872,000) of the 9,813,000 people working in the construction industry in 2010.
- Women in construction numbered just 1.2 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2013, and yet …
- The wage gap for women in construction is significantly smaller than the U.S average, or 93.4 percent of what men make versus 82.1 percent for all U.S. workers.
Women in Construction & What They Do
Most people, when they think of construction, think of residential construction – single family homes, condos and multi-family houses. The construction industry also covers the construction of infrastructure like roads and bridges, and commercial buildings from retail malls to skyscrapers.
There's lots of industry data, and for those who want to dig deeper, a great resources is the Center for Construction Research and Training. The following charts are from their Construction Chart Book.
So what does women's participationg look like across the construction industry?
- Women's careers are showing movement up the ladder with nearly one-third (31%) of women in construction holding managerial and professional positions in 2010.
- Women in construction in 2010 included – 39,000 women working as unskilled laborers and 147,000 in skilled trades – painters, carpenters, repair workers, electricians, drywall installers, truck drivers, heating and air conditioning mechanics, plumbers, etc.
- Women follow patterns similar to men when it comes to who they work for – roughly 70% of women work for private employers while 5% are government employees.
- Fewer women in construction are self-employed, 24% versus 28% of men in 2010.
Related Careers in the Housing Industry
While the focus here is on the construction industry, our “women in housing industry” profiles cover many related careers in the broader “housing industry”. These include careers in real estate, interior design and interior decorating, and services to these businesses like marketing and training.
Note: When Researching this article, my original title was Careers That Girls & Women Can Imagine, Can Happen (inspired by the new Barbie video, Imagine the Possibilities). Sadly, I found that almost everything written talked about “jobs” instead of careers. To maximize the number of people who would find this article, I changed my title but when I think about the difference – jobs are where we put the employer in the drivers seat; careers are where we control our path. So I wish everyone success on their lifelong journey, to achieve the career they've always dreamed of!
This is a great article. As a woman in the construction industry for over 26 years as a pipefitter, I have experienced seeing growth. We have so much more work to do. We need to get these young women at an early age to get excited about our industry. I am talking about Girl Scouts, and Day camps, teaching these 6-8 graders my skills in the construction trades. There are many organizations out there getting them early as well as the many who are getting them after their high school years. I love my job, I love the money I am paid and I never had to pay a dime to student loans.
Terri, Congrats on finding a job you love, one that pays well and makes you happy. If you’d like to share “a day in the life of a pipe fitter”, would love to collaborate (we can do via email).
I’m inspired with this article, Tina thanks for sharing your experience..
I’m also interested if I can get someone who will mentor me on it.
I’m very hardworking too.
Mercy, This is a great question. You’re correct that a mentor will help you achieve more success as this is true in almost every type of work. I mentored lots of women during the 29 years I worked for IBM. I knew the technology, the corporate structure & so much more, so it was easy. You really need a mentor in the same trade that you’re pursuing, and ideally they should live/work in the same area as you … so that won’t be me.
What I’d love to do though … is write an article for you about how to find mentors, to help you. So please give me your top 3 to 5 questions about mentoring, and a few weeks as I’ve got a busy schedule. Just leave your questions on this blog post as I get so many spammy emails, I might miss it there.
Shaneel Nasir Akbar
Great article Tina! Its amazing to see how much women do in the construction industry and how much more they can do! Hopefully this shift in the construction industry will continue to change the construction industry for the better. We have also tried to show the current state of women in the construction industry. Check out our blog post at https://geniebelt.com/blog/women-in-construction. Hope its a good read and you decide to share it.
Shaneel, I plan to write a brief introduction to your article in order to share it with my community. I started checking your website out to see if there are some ways we can cross-promote our sites on an ongoing basis, so let me know if you want to talk (Skype) …