Women are graduating from college and earning advanced degrees at higher rates than their male counterparts. They are seeing great advancements when it comes to landing jobs and moving up to management positions – but yet they are still grossly underrepresented when it comes to leadership roles. This is particularly true in certain industries, one of which – perhaps unsurprisingly – is construction.
With all of the skills that women are able to bring to the table, their lack of representation is a huge disservice to any company and to the industry as a whole. Women tend to be particularly skilled in communication, which makes them great at working with clients and resolving interpersonal conflicts.
Many companies have started mentorship programs or focused on offering benefits particularly geared toward women. So why are they still so underrepresented in the construction industry? And why are women who work in the industry likely to leave much faster than men?
Essentially, the big question is: What can you do to help female leaders succeed in construction?
In this article, we will take a look at three strategies that can help create an environment that can help females thrive in construction – which will help your company as a result.
- Continue to focus on benefits that specifically have women in mind
When speaking to individuals who work in construction, it becomes quickly obvious that there are strict time demands and pressures to finish projects ahead of schedule. This can be really difficult for women who are trying to raise a family. To make things easier (for everyone), consider offering things like job sharing or part-time roles. You should also make sure that you have a maternity leave policy in place. Beyond that, talk to women and ask them specifically about the benefits that could make their lives easier.
- Look for ways to make the environment more accepting of women
It can be difficult to work in a predominately male industry. Listening to locker room jokes and otherwise being surrounded by overt and covert sexism would make any woman feel uncomfortable or threatened. You should make sure that you have a zero-tolerance policy in this respect – however, this will not mean anything unless it is actually enforced. If an incident happens, both the employee and the manager should be held accountable.
- Actively recruit women in trades programs or adjacent professions
There are many smart and talented women who likely have never even considered a career in construction because they do not see themselves represented in the industry. In order to tap into this source of talent, you need to be actively recruiting women – this could be done right out of trades programs, or by looking for project managers who are currently working in different industries. It will help if you have a woman who is currently working at your company to reach out to any prospective hires.
Finding ways to recruit and grow female leadership within your organization can greatly benefit your company’s client base and overall bottom line. However, since the industry has been predominately represented by men, it will likely take a concerted effort on your end – but the payouts will be worth it.