Career paths and plans have changed for many Americans in 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic has led to significant job losses across multiple industries nationwide. However, the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows residential construction hiring was up more than 300,000 in the last two months.
In the United States, women make up about half of the workforce. Despite the longstanding myth, many women across the country have fulfilling careers in construction. During Sept. 14-18, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the Iowa City Area HBA celebrates Professional Women in Building Week to raise awareness and recognize the essential role of women in the construction industry.
Here are some reasons why girls and women should consider creating a career in construction:
Strong Earning Potential. A pay gap exists between men and women across most industries. On average, women in the United States earn 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 97 cents for every dollar a man earns.
Supportive Network of Professionals. Climbing the career ladder in any industry can be a challenge without a network. NAHB PWB Chair Betsy Sheppard offers advice for women getting started in the industry: “Find a mentor, group, or council like Professional Women in Building who share your enthusiasm, core values, and positive attitude.” NAHB has a strong network of women in construction. The Iowa City Area HBA has a Women’s Council that supports women in the home-building industry.
Educational Resources Available. Funding is available for female students who are interested in, or are currently pursuing, opportunities in residential construction. For example, The National Housing Endowment’s NAHB Professional Women in Building Strategies for Success scholarship encourages students to further their education in housing industry related programs.
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. “Women are a powerhouse in the home building industry,” says Sheppard.
To read stories about the diversity of women working in construction, follow #PWBWEEK2020 on social media.