COVID and Labor Shortage Means Perfect Conditions for Women to Enter Construction

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Robison Wells

A Fox Business report this week cites an increase in women moving into the construction industry. Within the past 12 months, many more women than men lost their jobs due primarily to womens’ prominence in the retail, hospitality, and travel industries.

Presently, the construction industry attracts women workers due to a labor shortage and competitive salaries. While the national wage gap holds with women making 81% of their male counterparts, the construction industry offers an attractive 99%, just a 1% gap between men and women working comparable jobs. In a distressed economy, many women find this an encouraging employment option.

According to the 2020 Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Survey, women currently make up 16% of management roles and 13% of skilled labor. The ABC Construction Confidence Index supports the idea that the construction industry can afford to hire hundreds of thousands of workers to fill the labor shortage gap.

The construction industry offers low barriers to entry, such as earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship programs. ABC members invested $1.5-billion in 2019 on educating more than a million people to become skilled laborers.

Says Stephanie L. Schmidt, the chair-elect of the ABC Board of Directors: “There is no better time for women to consider a career in construction. Whether you are a woman starting college, reentering the workforce, joining the workforce for the first time, or looking for a second career, construction offers ample opportunities to both begin and advance in the industry that builds the places where we work, play, worship, learn and heal.”

A severe reduction in employment in the retail, hospitality, and travel industries due to COVID-19, across from the growing skilled worker labor shortage in the construction industry, has more women looking at construction as a viable vocation.

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