This year, encouraging and actively recruiting women to join the construction industry is more important than ever. According to a new report by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the construction industry will need to attract an estimated 546,000 additional workers ON TOP of the normal hiring in 2023 to meet the demand for labor. ABC reported that the construction industry averages more than 390,000 job openings per month in 2022, the highest level on record. If construction companies don’t add women to their recruiting pool, finding enough workers to fill open positions could be nearly impossible.
Women are Coming Back to Work
The good news is that it might be easier now than it was a couple of years ago to entice women to join the construction industry. During the pandemic, many women left their jobs out of necessity to provide care for their children. But once the pandemic restrictions subsided, many women didn’t return. In 2020, 10.9% of employees in the construction industry were women, which represented about 1.17 million women. In 2022, that number remained unchanged, even as demand and jobs grew. New data shows things could be improving.
NPR reports that it took two and a half years, but the number of working-age women in the job market has finally recovered to pre-pandemic levels. The statistics look even more promising for women of color. NPR experts say reliable in-person schooling and rising prices are helping to entice women back into the workforce. Now is the ideal time to increase efforts to recruit more women to take construction jobs.
Getting Women into Construction
Recruiting more women to enter the construction industry often requires getting to them before they get into the workforce and making sure your recruitment materials appeal to them specifically.
Introduce women and girls to the possibilities of working in construction before they graduate from high school.
- Establish a presence at local schools. There are fewer and fewer young people going into construction. Surveys have found that 63% of young adults wouldn’t consider a career in construction, citing that the work is difficult and they want a less physically demanding job. But the industry needs workers more than ever and women can fill that role. Volunteer at local schools by taking part in career fairs or giving presentations about the construction industry.
- Open up your facility to young visitors. Seeing women working construction jobs first-hand is a great way to celebrate women in construction and encourage young people to follow suit. Hold tours of your business and invite female job seekers to attend. Make the tours part of your regular Women in Construction week events and consider offering them throughout the year.
- Highlight all available roles. While women are capable of performing the majority of construction jobs, the more physically demanding roles could be a deterrent. Show young women the different roles available like managerial roles including project managers, crew foremen, safety managers and more, and what they need to do to fill them.
Use Targeted Recruitment Efforts
Hiring more women requires targeting your recruiting practices directly to them.
- Use gender-neutral language. Remove all language that could lead to hiring a candidate based on their gender. Write job descriptions that don’t use gender-biased language like guys, he or she. Use gender-neutral language like “the candidate” or “the applicant.” Job description writers should also be aware of masculine skewed language, like ambition, driven and competitive, and feminine skewed language, like thoughtful, flexible and trustworthy and try to eliminate or reduce their use.
- Ask current employees for referrals. Employee referral programs account for a great number of high-quality hires, but if your current workforce is made up of people who are all alike, they’ll likely refer someone who looks or acts just like them, leading to affinity bias. Encourage employees to refer candidates from backgrounds that are different from their own, including women and women of color.
Women in Construction Week
Take advantage of the events planned for Women in Construction Week (WIC) to celebrate and attract more women to your workforce. Encouraging your female employees to become members of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is a good place to start. Many local NAWIC chapters hold WIC Week events, which can include making presentations to high school classes, job site tours, luncheons and virtual events. NAWIC also offers resources, like WIC Week Toolboxes that help companies find more information on a particular day’s theme, educational resources, highlighted events and more.
Recruiting more women to join your workforce can make a positive impact when filling available positions. Arcoro’s hiring software, like our Applicant Tracking System, can help you get better results. Arcoro’s cloud-based ATS automates tasks to help streamline the recruiting process and reduce your time to hire.
- Quickly post open positions to leading national, local and/or niche job boards.
- Manage candidates from top of funnel to hire, keeping them engaged.
- Build talent pools and databases of high-quality candidates for faster hiring.
- Maintain compliance with EEO taglines and reporting features.