Why are women in construction at a record high?

By Andy BrownNovember 30, 2022

Photo: National Association of Women in Construction

With the construction industry working at near the limit of its labor force, the share of women that hold construction jobs in the U.S. has hit a record high, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Analysis of the statistics by the Washington Post revealed that in August of this year 14% of construction workers were female – the highest number ever recorded.

The number of women working in U.S. construction took off in 2016 and has increased steeply each year since. The statistics count women that work on construction sites and in offices for construction companies.

The Post’s analysis shows that a significant driver has been the 117% growth in the number of Hispanic women in the industry over the past six years. In 2020, the share of Hispanic women overtook the share of White women in construction.

With construction suffering a well-publicized skills shortage, attracting previously underrepresented demographics, such as women, into the industry is vital.

“Right now, there are about one million women working in the construction industry,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, announcing the Million Women in Construction initiative at the North American Building Trades Union (NABTU) Tradeswomen Build Nations 2022 Conference. “I’m here to tell you that together we are going to double that over the next decade to create opportunity for another million women.”

The Department of Commerce is investing more than $100 billion to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing and bring high-speed internet to every American – projects expected to create up to 200,000 construction jobs. There are currently not enough trained tradespeople to meet the demand. And while women account for more than half of the U.S. population, they make up less than 10% of jobs in the trades.

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