It’s no secret that there is a lack of women in construction. According to BigRentz, women comprise only 10.3% of the industry. Undoubtedly, that is a small amount, but it is even more concerning when you take into consideration that women make up 47% of all employed individuals. Additionally, of the 10.3% of women in the industry, 86.7% of them are in office positions while 2.5% are in the field.
That said, construction companies are making more of an effort to recruit more women. As a matter of fact, studies show a substantial increase in the number of women employed in the industry. However, the question remains: What can women do once they’re hired to help propel their career in the industry?
We have some suggestions.
Understand your Peers
When first getting into a new industry, you don’t have to lead right away but what you do need to is listen. It may be a bit intimidating to be surrounded by mostly men but being a “sponge” for information and observing and understanding the nuances of where you work can help overcome this feeling. When you understand who you’re working with, you can then find a way to be yourself but also understand how to do it in a way that fits in with the larger group – and you can work together, instead of working against each other.
Find a Mentor
Being new to the industry can be difficult and some people may not know what to expect. That’s when having a mentor may be to your advantage. While it’s possible to find someone inside of your organization, groups like the National Association of Women in Construction can help you in your search. Either way, finding someone that you admire, male or female, can be a valuable source of information and support as you start to discover what the industry is all about.
Stay Up to Date on the Industry
When you know what’s happening, you know how best to position yourself for success. For women in construction, there are quite a few resources that they can take advantage of to learn more about the industry and help in their career development.
For instance, women can attend events like NAWIC’s annual conference as well as the Groundbreaking Women in Construction Conference that run professional seminars and workshops for women. They can also keep up to date on current events and other opportunities by reading blogs and Oregon Tradeswoman. Either way, there is an opportunity to learn regardless of how you choose to do so.
Surprisingly, there is a significant confidence gap between men and women with women being more likely to underestimate their abilities in the workplace. So how can women build their confidence in this field? Regardless of gender, when a person works hard and works to the best of their abilities, they are likely to be respected.
Rise to the Challenge
At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words. When you start looking at challenges as opportunities, you are better able to grow professionally. Attempt to be the person that speaks up for positive changes on your team. And, once you know what you’re doing, you can always give back and mentor others who are in a similar position to where you were when you started. By doing so, you can help the construction industry diversify its workforce and elevate new voices. Remember, empowered women empower women.
Do you want to learn more about how encouraging diversity can take your construction workforce to the next level? Read “What Does Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Mean for Construction Companies?”.