Learning Resources for Women in Construction
by Lior Zitzman
To enter a competitive and dangerous field like construction, women have a multitude of resources available to them that address their specific needs in the industry:
Nationally recognized groups like the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and Women Construction Owners & Executives USA provide mentorship, marketing and networking opportunities to help women who are new to the construction industry. Jenny Brongo, president and owner of Brongo Contracting and Supply in Rochester, NY, learned from the NAWIC how to successfully run her business after the passing of her father.
In certain areas of the country, large construction companies collaborate with the local community to offer courses and boot-camp programs for young girls and any women interested in the industry. Many cities also offer apprenticeship programs that strive to recruit women, prepare them for exams, and train them with job-specific skills.
Construction Forums and Conferences
A number of conferences are held to celebrate and discuss the topic of women in construction. NAWIC’s Annual Conference includes professionals seminars and workshops for women, while the Groundbreaking Women in Construction conference provides management training and teaches women how to bridge pay gaps in their workplace.
In addition to conferences, women can stay up to date in the industry with blogs like Constructing Equality and Tradeswomen, which aim to tackle issues of diversity, provide original research, highlight scholarship opportunities, and share personal stories and anecdotes.
Diversity Drives Performance
Although more diverse representation in the construction industry isn’t a reality today, this report by McKinsey & Co. reveals that the most gender-diverse companies are 25 percent more likely to achieve above-average profitability than companies with less diversity. With 2021 shaping up to be a year of growth for the industry, hiring more women is an optimal way to capitalize on that expansion.
In fact, that report found that construction companies with more women in executive line roles than staff roles experienced above-average financial performance compared to those companies that didn’t. When 30 percent or more of executive-level positions were filled by women, those companies had a 48 percent likelihood of outperforming their least-diverse competitors.
Although more diversity brings about more success, Randstad found that women executives are more likely to occupy staff roles (14 percent) than line roles (7 percent). This is in stark contrast to men in executive roles, with 33 percent operating as staff executives and 46 percent as line executives.