The construction industry is struggling to attract female workers. Leadership is to blame for various reasons. The solution to the gender gap in construction may be a change in leadership.
An Inside Look at the Construction Gender Gap
Look around at the construction sites you drive by, and you’ll likely spot only a couple of women. Women aren’t well-represented among the industry’s personnel, but they make meaningful contributions to construction projects. The hope is that more women will join the industry in years to come, setting an example for future women to embrace similar roles.
Recent studies indicate meaningful differences between the genders in the context of engineering careers. A whopping 57% of women engineers leave the profession by 45. In contrast, less than 18% of men leave the industry by the age of 45. Let’s focus ow how to solve the problem of a gender imbalance in the construction industry workforce.
Is a Management Change Necessary?
Though recruiters are certainly doing their part to guide laborers toward the construction industry, an overarching problem must be addressed. The management culture problem is a glaring issue that will take some time and effort to remedy.
There is a growing push to steer women toward leadership positions. Thus, more women are encouraged to enter the industry and contribute to construction businesses.
Recruiting female leaders is a structural issue central to the construction gender gap. Some hiring managers at construction businesses frown at the idea of bringing a woman onto lead the team. However, as time progresses, business owners, hiring managers and recruiters have opened their minds to adding women to the leadership ranks.
Retention is the X Factor
Attracting women to leadership roles is only half the battle. As noted above, nearly 60% of women engineers leave the profession by 45. Therefore, keeping them in the fold has the potential to be more challenging than attracting them in the first place.
Construction businesses are challenged with expanding their recruiting scope to connect with as many candidates as possible. Once the net is cast widely, the challenge shifts to training those candidates to maximize retention instead of letting them venture to other opportunities.
Convincing women to remain in the construction industry requires open-mindedness, financial compensation that rivals that of their male peers and competitive benefits. Women tend to favor flexible working hours so they can maintain a work-life balance, contribute to their families, and enjoy life. In short, the culture of hiring and the overarching culture of the construction industry must change sooner rather than later.
Is There a Culture Problem?
We would be remiss not to mention that the command-and-control culture of management that has been the standard for years prevents the formation of construction environments that are hospitable to women. Furthermore, the default management culture that has prevailed over recent decades has made it difficult for women to establish a rapport with others.
Recruiters and construction businesses that proactively address these hurdles will succeed in recruiting that many more women to the rapidly growing construction industry. This will narrow the gender gap in construction with each passing day and ease the labor shortage.
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