Women in Construction Still the Largest Minority

Women in Construction

Being a member of any members-only organization used to be a mark of professional and social success. Fraternal organizations and non-academic sororities thrived in every community. Being a part of anything exclusive meant you were…special.

“Special” usually means possessing a unique quality and/or deserving of better-than-average treatment. Like minorities.

Women make up only about 10% of construction industry workers, even though they are 47% of the overall U.S. workforce.

Construction Dive says it best: Construction’s diversity numbers are awful. The construction industry is an embarrassing third from the bottom of the racial minority-hires chart.

Women are the largest construction industry minority*. Another interesting fact: Women in construction are, as a group, older than men.

Inclusion has become something to be proud of. The first Construction Inclusion Week was October 18-22, 2021. The group of contractors that created Time for a Change (with a goal of identifying ways to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in construction) developed Construction Inclusion Week. If you missed it, there’s still time to commit to hiring women in construction.

Show-Me State Contractor Shows How Women in Construction Improve Company Growth…And Profits

Burns & McDonnell is a Kansas City, MO employee-owned, full-service construction and engineering firm. Since 1898, the company has been a flagship for exceptional customer care and construction planning, designing, and project management. Today, one-third of their construction new hires are women.

Manager Leon Harden says you can see more contract wins, enhanced productivity and profits when you initiate diversity initiatives. Here’s how:

  • Be transparent about hiring. Create a consistent recruitment process that is fair for all applicants.
  • Contractors should define what diversity and inclusion mean for their firms. Implement programs to increase education, eliminate intolerance, and heighten appreciation for cultural diversity.
  • Encourage employees to tell their stories. It is powerful and builds empathy for minority and diverse co-workers.
  • Offer employees reciprocal mentorship opportunities and encourage advocacy for each other.
  • Think outside the box when recruiting. Ask employees to tap their networks for potential talent.

Change can be uncomfortable. But it’s often necessary to attract and retain the workforce of the future, says Harden,

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* With the exception of Asians, Native Alaskans, and Native American Indians

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