The residential construction industry provides a rewarding career path for women. Builders and remodelers are seeking skilled artisans and professionals, including carpenters, architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians and painters. With women making up about half of the workforce in the U.S., here are some reasons why women should consider pursuing a fulfilling career in the trades.
Competitive Salary. A pay gap exists between men and women across most industries. On average, women in the United States earn 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. However, the gap is much smaller in the construction trades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women in the construction industry earn 97 cents for every dollar a man earns.
Job Opportunities. Unfilled jobs in the construction sector reached a post-recession high earlier this year. A National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey found shortages of labor in various types of construction jobs including framers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and bricklayers. The residential construction industry is one of the few sectors where demand for new workers has risen.
Scholarships. Funding is available for students who are interested in or currently pursuing opportunities in residential construction. The National Housing Endowment offers several student scholarships and programs and the American Council for Construction Education has resources available for students interested in teaching opportunities in the field.
Network of Experts. There is a growing community of women in construction who are willing to mentor and share insights with women entering the field. NAHB has a strong network of women in construction. The National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment, a consortium of groups representing tradeswomen’s organizations around the country, offers opportunities for women in the construction industry.
A Sense of Accomplishment. Working in the trades brings a sense of satisfaction for completing high-quality work that contributes to home building and ultimately helping to fulfill the American Dream. Darylene Dennon the first tradeswoman to chair the NAHB Professional Women in Building Council (PWB) highlighted the benefits of being a woman in the trades: “I was raised to think that if you do a good job, people will appreciate it. And always learn a trade. You can do a trade anywhere. When I was in the field, I didn’t think of myself as unequal.”
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