Survey: Things are looking up for women in construction

By Jenny LescohierMarch 11, 2021

Opportunities for women in construction are on the rise and most female workers feel they receive equal treatment from their employers, according to the results of a survey released at the start of Women in Construction Week, March 7-13.

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and Safe Site Check In announced the results of a workforce survey of more than 700 women in construction.

When provided with a multiple choice question, “The opportunities for women in construction are increasing, decreasing, or about the same,” 71% of respondents agree the opportunities are increasing. Another 28% believe they are about the same while 1% report the opportunities are decreasing.

Monday, March 8, is International Women’s Day 2021 highlighting this year’s theme asking women to #choose to challenge.

“Now is a great time for women to work in construction,” said Crissy Ingram, executive director, NAWIC. “There are more job opportunities across a variety of professional, trade and administration fields and the gender pay gap is significantly smaller. On average, women in construction earn 99.1% of their male colleagues.” 

With more than 115 chapters across the country, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) offers its members education, support and networking to help advance their careers in construction, build their technical skills, and

become leaders.

When it comes to equality in the workplace, participants were asked, “On a scale of 1-100, how does your employer rank in treating men and women equally?” While more than half of the participants ranked their employer at 80 or above, the survey results indicate room for improvement as evidenced by the following responses:

  • 24% ranked their employer at 100
  • 22% ranked their employer at 90 or above
  • 13% ranked their employer between 80-89
  • 11% ranked their employer between 79-70
  • 6% ranked their employer between 69-60
  • 24% ranked their employer below 60

Long-term impact of pandemic on construction

Part of the survey focused on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on construction workers. Results show it has impacted the workload with 32% of respondents working more, while 58% are working about the same as before the pandemic, and 10% report working fewer hours.

In response to the question, “Are you concerned about contracting Covid-19 at work?” 70% of respondents answered “no” while 30% responded “yes.”

Additionally, the pandemic has introduced new job site and office protocols. These include technology driven processes as well as traditional approaches to preventing the spread of the virus on job sites.

When survey participants were provided multiple choices to the question, “Which of the following Covid-19 safety protocols does your employer enforce?” respondents provided the following answers:

  • Staying home if you’re feeling sick: 96%
  • Social distancing: 90%
  • Frequent handwashing: 76%
  • Health screenings: 44%
  • Digital check in: 27%
  • Contact tracing: 16%

Survey participants were then asked, “Which of the new Covid-19 protocols do you think will continue after the pandemic?” The top three responses were frequent handwashing at 75%, followed by digital check in and contact tracing, which remained at the same percentages as current protocols. 

“We’re not surprised to see digital check-ins become part of post pandemic protocols. Originally developed for secure health screenings and private contact tracing, digital check in saves hours each day while eliminating paper-based processes,” said David Ward, CEO, Safe Site Check In. “Today, we’re seeing construction businesses use digital check in to assign tasks, locations, and supervisors to employees upon arrival, support facilities planning, and reconcile invoices with hours worked.”

Survey participants

The survey was conducted in February 2021 and 718 NAWIC members participated. Survey participants represent all areas

of the construction industry across private and public sectors. 

The majority of survey participants (49%) have been working in construction for 16 or more years. Those with 11-15 years and 6-10 years of experience were equally split at 15% for each category, followed by 21% having worked in construction five years or less. Additionally, 57% work in the office, 40% work both in the office and the field, and 3% work solely in the field.

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