In the United States, women make up about half of the workforce. However, only a small percentage of women work in the residential construction industry.
Among those women who are working in the industry, a majority have a fulfilling career with opportunities for advancement and competitive pay. Women in construction also have the satisfaction of knowing they’re building homes that make a difference in people’s lives.
Leslie Gower, CEO of AGC East Tennessee, says, “A growing number of women are entering the construction industry, excelling, and shattering stereotypes as they crush it on the job. Their innate qualities of precision, collaboration, problem-solving and attention to detail are the qualities that elevate construction projects to the next level.”
This month, the National Association of Home Builders Professional Women in Building Council celebrates Professional Women in Building Week (Sept. 11-15) to raise awareness and recognize the essential role of women in the construction industry. Here are some reasons why women should consider creating a career path in construction:
Numerous job opportunities
The number of unfilled construction jobs was more than 300,000 in June. An NAHB survey found labor shortages in various construction jobs, including framers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and bricklayers. In addition, the residential construction industry is one of the few sectors where demand for new workers rose during the pandemic.
A pay gap exists between men and women across most industries. On average, women in the United States earn approximately 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. However, the gap is much smaller in the construction trades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women in the construction industry earn 95 cents for every dollar a man earns.
Scholarships and education opportunities
Funding is available through numerous programs for students who are pursuing residential construction opportunities. For example, NAHB Professional Women in Building and the National Housing Endowment have scholarships and grants available for students seeking to further their education in housing industry related programs.
Chattanooga is also home to the Hamilton County Construction Career Center. Opened last year, this 28,000 square-foot vocational workforce center offers education and training to area high school students and TCAT adult learners with the goal of 100% career placement for graduates.
Vast professional network
There’s a growing community of women in construction willing to mentor and share insights with females entering the field. The Home Builders of Greater Chattanooga is a great place to connect with other women in the industry through educational and networking opportunities. Additionally, AGC East Tennessee offers continuing education courses, peer networking events and more, making it another amazing resource for women in the career field.
A sense of achievement
A career in the trades brings a sense of satisfaction for completing high-quality work that contributes to home building and ultimately helping to fulfill the American dream.
If you’re a woman with a passion for creating, problem-solving and lifelong learning, consider pursuing a career in construction. The industry is open and welcoming, with many opportunities for gaining career success.
For more information on career opportunities in our area, visit the websites of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga (hbagc.net) and AGC East Tennessee (www.agcetn).