The month of March is much more than St. Patrick’s Day, green beer, and shenanigans. It also has a week for appreciating women in construction! It has a week to highlight females as the important component of the construction industry that they are. Only 9.9% of the construction workforce in the US is women. The US is not the only country that has this issue. In the UK, women only represent approximately 12.8%. They represent only 11% in Canada and only 12% in Australia.
Being headquartered in Sumner, Washington, we are fortunate to be in a city that is the second largest city with the most women in the construction trade. The Seattle area employs 17.6% females in construction. This is about 2,697 females employed in construction compared to 12,664 males in the local area. Being a construction worker in the Seattle area has a median earning potential of $70,966.
This is not only great news for our corporate office but also for our Spokane branch. The construction industry in Spokane is 11.1% women. It is 13.3% in the Spokane Valley. There are between 643-679 women employed in the construction industry in the greater Spokane area. The earning potential in this area for women is between $50,649-$53,477.
A major benefit for women working in this industry is that they tend to command higher wages than female workers in other fields. The median full-time wage for women in this trade is $46,808 per year, while female workers in other industries earn about $43,394. The national gender pay gap across all industries is 19%, while the gender pay gap in the construction is only 3.7%.
The construction workforce is evolving in positive ways. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most male-dominated industries in the world. There are over 1.1 million women working in construction compared to 9.9 million men.
Why is there a lack of women? Undeniably, a career in construction offers plenty of opportunities and benefits. However, there is a long road ahead to balance the male to female ratio. To increase recruitment and improve retention, companies need to acknowledge and remove gender bias from the work culture. They need to develop training programs and local mentorship groups specific to the needs of women. Schools and educational programs need to highlight the value of construction jobs for women and young girls so that they can see the industry as a viable career path. Between 2017-2018 there was a 17.6% increase in women working in the manufacturing and/or roadwork trades, the highest in 20 years. 2021 saw a 4% growth in new construction firms launched by women.
Although there are obstacles for females to enter construction, there are groundbreaking women chipping away at gendered norms and leveling the playing field. The industry is taking bigger steps at becoming a more diverse and inclusive space for future generations. At Stripe Rite we are proud to be apart of the statistic in employing women in the construction industry.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey