According to a report from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Washington, D.C., the number of women employed in the construction industry in the United States grew slightly in 2020, increasing to approximately 1.17 million workers.
The report added that this number represents about 10.9% of the construction workforce, which is up from 10.3% in 2019.
In 2002, the number of women in construction was 897,000. This increased each year until 2006, when it peaked at 1,131,000. The numbers then dropped each year through 2012, when it hit 802,000. Since then, the number has been increasing again every year.
However, according to the NAHB, while this upward movement in recent years is a positive sign, the construction industry as a whole faces an ongoing labor shortage, and women are an important part of reducing this shortage.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy last year, the overall construction industry lost 587,000 jobs. Fortunately, there has been a fairly steady recovery since then, according to the NAHB, as home building and related construction activities are an increasingly important part of the broader economy.
Regarding the increasing the number of women in construction, the NAHB added that there is an additional challenge: the majority of women in construction are employed in roles such as administrative support, management or business and financial operations. In fact, about 69% of women in construction are involved in sales and office occupations. “Only about 6% were involved in construction and maintenance occupations, where workers are needed most,” according to the NAHB.
To encourage more women to become part of the industry, NAHB’s Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council celebrated PWB Week 2021 last week (Sept. 13–17, 2021). The event was set up to recognize women’s important contributions in residential construction and the work that is being done to promote, train, advance and add more women to the industry.