Women are doing it for themselves, even in a traditionally male-dominated field.
Construction, long-seen as a man’s world, hit a total of 440,000 job openings in April, the highest in Bureau of Labor Statistics records going back to 2001 Bloomberg reported. According to findings from the the Q3 2021 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (CCI), almost all of the (92%) contractors surveyed reported some level of difficulty finding skilled workers, but this quarter, 55% indicate high levels of difficulty—a jump of 10 percentage points from Q2.
This left the lane wide open for women—about 1 million are reported to be in construction as of May 2021— an industry high.
“We cannot afford in this industry to turn down people purely based on gender,” said Patrice Haley, a member of construction giant DPR’s diversity leadership team in an interview with Bloomberg. “A lot of that veteran talent is starting to retire,” she says. “We can’t leave any stone unturned.”
It’s no surprise that the field is an attractive one to make an entry into. Salaries are high and hours are plentiful. High earners stand to make up $95k as an entry-level employee.
This is a significant step forward since COVID-19 drove a large group of women out of their jobs in 2020. Data from Brookings Institute shows that one out of four women who became unemployed during the pandemic reported the job loss was due to a lack of childcare, twice the rate of men surveyed.
With higher wages and lower barriers to entry, there’s an increased chance of women being able to outsource childcare, and not being held back from advancing their careers.