The global gender pay gap is slowly closing – when will we see equality?
Despite the economic and social roadblocks during and following the COVID-19 pandemic, industries across the globe are continuing to work toward gender parity as employees return to the workforce. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, the global gender gap has been closed by nearly 70% in 2022. At this current rate, the gap is set to be completely closed in 132 years. While this may sound like we still have a long way to go, advancements in policy and culture are increasing progress in every sector, every day.
Equal Pay for Women in Construction
Traditionally a male-dominated field, construction has shown to be one of the leading industries in closing the gender pay gap. According to a 2019 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the construction industry led the way with the narrowest pay gap between men and women – with female construction workers earning 94.3% of their male counterparts’ wages. This was more than 10% higher than Education services and more than 20% higher than Healthcare and social assistance.
Equal Representation for Women in Construction
Gender parity can be one of the solutions to ongoing labor shortages in construction
While women still only make up a little more than 10% of the industry in the US (meaning 1.1 million women in construction compared to nearly 10 million men), construction firms are making promising strides in organization and leadership. More than 20% of women hold leadership roles in construction, more than doubling since the early 2010s. The increasing numbers of female leadership in construction shines a promising light in the future of the industry, where skilled labor on all levels is drastically needed. Business Insider forecasts a need for more than two million more construction workers in the next three years for residential construction alone. With the current labor shortage at approximately 650,000 new workers needed, it’s clear that inclusivity will not only help address opportunity and wage gaps, but they will also alleviate the staffing and labor needs across the industry.
Groundbreaking Women in Construction
Female leaders are paving the way for others
Organizations like Associated Builders and Contractors New Jersey (ABC-NJ) are taking a simple but effective approach to solving labor shortages through increased recruitment. Organizations like Construction Career Collaborative (C3), TDIndustries, and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) are collaborating together to push for increased recruitment to build the next generation of construction workers and leaders. This past March, for Women in Construction Week, C3, TDIndustries, and NAWIC held the annual #SHEBuildsHouston recruiting event, where female leaders and innovators inspire and educate young women who are looking to enter the industry. Featuring speakers such as TD’s Executive Vice President Nikki Morgan and Iris Flores, the 2021 Young Professional for the Greater Houston Area ABC, the event hosted panels and training on craft trades, project management, visual design, and more.
Similarly, female leaders in the engineering sector are urging their peers to share and continue the efforts in recruiting. At this year’s Groundbreaking: Women in Construction (GWIC) conference, construction and engineering leaders discussed the different avenues for promoting women in the workforce and continuing to rebuild the industry post-2020. They cited job flexibility and education/recruitment as important potential catalysts for these changes, with 50% of attendees responding that an adapted work environment would help them thrive in their careers. Bisa Grant, CEO of Anchor, a California construction management firm, has formalized work-from-home for her employees, urging attendees to stay on top of cultural shifts, especially those with positive potential impact. In bringing in the next generation of female construction workers and leaders, Nancy Bray, director of spaceport integration and services for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, pointed to early education as a critical time for future builders and thought leaders, “We’ve got to keep encouraging young girls and get them excited at the elementary age.”
More Professional Women in Construction
As economic and work culture shifts continue to impact the construction industry, it’s more important than ever to fortify labor and leadership for all. Women in construction may have the lowest pay gap compared to their peers in other industries, but we are still working toward equal representation and leadership. Luckily, it is clear that our current industry leaders and workers are continuing the push for equality and inclusivity, and that these efforts not only open the door for more women to join, but strengthens firms and organizations by bringing in drastically needed skilled labor and leadership.
At TrueLook, we are proud to have a culture of inclusivity, and we are always striving to build a better, healthier future for all of our employees and partners.