With women only making up 10.9 percent of the construction industry, it might seem as if the new roads women are paving aren't extremely visible. However, women are increasingly becoming a powerhouse of leadership and inspiration, attracting a growing number of women to the construction industry.
National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is the leading association for women in construction. It is committed to championing women to impact the direction of the construction industry and advocating for the value of women builders, professionals, and tradeswomen.
This is an important juncture for the industry. Now more than ever, women are creating new paths and can help their peers lead with greater empathy, less bias, and to be more inclusive of women in the workforce.
Paralleled with NAWIC's goal, Wendy Montgomery, Talent Management Director, stopped by The Big Room to share her perspective on how women are paving new roads in the construction industry and their impact on this fast-growing field.
With a growing construction labor shortage, women could become a significant part of closing the talent gap. Why do you think women should join the construction industry?
One reason is that the gender pay gap is smaller in the construction industry, with women on earning 99.1 percent of what men make on average. Another reason is the talent-need in construction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts "faster-than-average" employment growth for jobs in construction through 2026.
NAWIC's purpose is to strengthen and amplify the success of women in the construction industry. How do you think women in the construction industry can individually amplify their success?
For any employee, continuous education and professional development are always differentiators. Specifically for women, developing professional networking skills and asking powerful questions. Both skills foster continuous self-improvement. Building a solid network allows access to mentors, establishes advocates, and identifies professional sponsors to help with career acceleration. And, learning how to ask powerful questions will unlock the ability to gain deep insights into blind spots and potential solutions to address the root causes of professional pitfalls.
The percentage of women in the construction industry is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years. What do you think is contributing to this increase?
There is a reality around the talent shortage in the construction industry, specifically in skilled trades. But there is also a technology skill gap that is increasingly impacting construction. Since the last recession, construction has made a strong comeback due to a growing economy, construction jobs have become more diverse and technical, and there is also the fact that women occupy more than half of the labor workforce. There is a great opportunity for women to be a significant part of closing the talent gap in construction.
What are some of the benefits of being a woman in the construction industry?
Aside from the better-than-average pay equity, construction is evolving, and industry leaders often embrace diversity and technology as a competitive advantage. These growing roles expand the variety of career paths within construction, attracting more women to the industry.
Construction is listening to the voices of its women and now is the time to create the foundation for the construction landscape of tomorrow.
How do you think women can pave new roads in a male-dominated industry?
This is an important juncture for the industry. Now more than ever, women are creating new paths and can help their peers lead with greater empathy, less bias, and to be more inclusive of women in the workforce. Construction is listening to the voices of its women and now is the time to create the foundation for the construction landscape of tomorrow.
Talent Management Director
As the Talent Management Director for Southland Industries, Wendy Montgomery is responsible for developing and executing organizational workforce planning, employee engagement, and talent acquisition strategies.