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Five Reasons Why Women Should Work in the Construction Trades

September 16, 2019

The residential construction industry provides a rewarding career path for women. Builders and remodelers across Washington State are seeking skilled artisans and professionals, including carpenters, architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians, and painters. In the U.S., women make up about 50% of the workforce, but only 9% of women work in the construction/home building industry according to the United States Census. Here are some reasons why women should consider pursuing a fulfilling career in the trades.

Competitive Salary. 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.

Job Opportunities. Unfilled jobs in the construction sector has reached a post-recession high. A National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey found labor shortages ranging from 47% of builders reporting a shortage of building-maintenance managers to a whopping 83% reporting a shortage of framing crews. Shortages of labor in various types of construction jobs including framers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and bricklayers. The residential construction industry is one of the few sectors where demand for new workers has risen.

Scholarships. Funding is available for students who are interested in or currently pursuing opportunities in residential construction. The National Housing Endowment offers several student scholarships and programs and the American Council for Construction Education has resources available for students interested in teaching opportunities in the field. The Building Industry Association of Washington also offers scholarships and grants and has awarded more than $500,000 since the program’s inception.

Network of Experts. There is a growing community of women in construction who are willing to mentor and share insights with women entering the field. NAHB has a strong network of women in construction through its Professional Women in Building council. For more than ten years, the Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council has recognized, honored, and supported women in the construction trades, opening new pathways toward continued innovation. Please attend our annual conference on October 10th in Bothell and help us celebrate over a decade of making a difference in our communities, with countless educational, networking, and mentorship opportunities.

A Sense of Accomplishment. Working 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. Darylene Dennon the first tradeswoman to chair the NAHB Professional Women in Building Council (PWB) highlighted the benefits of being a woman in the trades: “I was raised to think that if you do a good job, people will appreciate it. And always learn a trade. You can do a trade anywhere. When I was in the field, I didn’t think of myself as unequal.”

This piece written by First Vice President Sherry Schwab

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