Although the number of women in construction careers has grown steadily over the years, nearly 40% are in administrative and office positions, according to a new analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
In 2019, there were roughly 1.2 million women employed in construction in the U.S., compared to 10.2 million men. Of all women in construction, 446,000 were in administrative or office support roles.
In terms of construction site positions, 6.8 million men held those jobs in 2019 compared to 222,000 women.
Although the number of women in construction trades is growing — approaching 20% in some major metro areas —women represent just 3% of the workforce on jobsites, according to the BLS data. Women holding office support positions is nothing new, and that’s not unique to construction.
“Office support jobs have traditionally been held by women, and the construction industry is no different there,” Wendy Zang, senior managing consultant for national recruiting firm Helbling & Associates, told Construction Dive. “So, while women far outpace men in that one type of role, the trades, professional and even sales roles are still heavily male dominated.”
After administrative positions, the second-most common job for women in the industry was in sales, followed by management, business and finance. About 363,000 women held jobs in those areas in 2019, compared to 1.9 million men.
Despite the disparity in positions, Zang said there is an industrywide effort to attract women to both trades and professional ranks, and the momentum of those efforts has increased.
“On the trades side, there has been new attention to attracting women over the last few years as studies have shown that skilled trades will have as many as 3 million unfilled jobs by 2028,” she said.
Nationwide, women make up 10% of the construction workforce according to BLS data. Despite the gap in the number of workers, women in construction make nearly $47,000 a year, more than their nonconstruction counterparts, who make about $43,400.
The opposite is true for men, who often make less in construction than they do in other careers. The pay gap for men and women is also smaller in construction, at 3.7% compared to 19% across all fields.