With inclusion becoming increasingly important to consumers, companies have made an effort to recruit a more diverse workforce. The construction industry is making strides as there are now more women working in U.S. construction than ever before.
In August 2022, the number of women construction workers reached an all-time high of 14% of the entire industry. A November 2022 analysis by The Washington Post says that the number of women employed as construction workers has been on the rise since 2016, continuously increasing from 12.5% of the industry in August 2016 and spiking to 13.5% during the pandemic in April 2020. That year, one in every 10 construction workers was a woman, accounting for 1.2 million employees, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
By the end of 2021, the number of women across the entire industry reached 1,241,000. This number accounts for every role in the industry, including managerial and clerical positions, but The Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that 314,223 of these employees were construction tradeswomen.
The trend for women in overall construction is higher than in electrical construction. Responses collected in the 2022 Profile of the Electrical Contractor showed only 4% of respondents were women, consistent with the data from 2020, the last time the survey was conducted.
The largest increase in the construction industry comes from Hispanic women. This demographic grew by 117% over the past six years, per The Post’s analysis, which also found that most of this growth derived from work site positions and not back office roles.
One of the biggest factors leading to this increase is the pressing nationwide worker shortage. Overall, this has caused labor recruiters to look outside their usual hiring pool, according to a November 2022 Construction Dive report. On theme with diversifying the construction workforce, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the Million Women in Construction initiative at a North American Building Trades Union conference in October. This initiative plans to continue to promote inclusivity by continuing to recruit more women into these high-paying construction trade roles.
“Right now, there are about one million women working in the construction industry,” Raimondo said. “I’m here to tell you that together we are going to double that over the next decade to create opportunity for another million women.”