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The Key to Solving Current Labor Shortages May be Women in Hard Hats

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Women in Hard Hats

Women in Hard Hats may be key to solving labor shortage issues nationwide

The Great Recession officially ended in 2009 and ended what many may remember as the housing crisis of the early-2000’s. Since that time there’s been a boom in the Construction Industry across the country; new developments and projects are breaking ground and salaries have even begun to stabilize. Unfortunately, one of the unforeseen problems with the current boom-time in Construction is the lack of skilled labor in many markets. As many developers struggle with trying to solve the logistical problems associated with labor shortages, experts point to women in hard hats as the catalyst to help solve some of these problems.

The numbers don’t lie. In a recent article published in Construction Business Owner, there are currently 9.9 million people employed in the construction industry but only 9% of them are women. Pulling back our focus a bit more, according to the most recent U.S. Census data, women make up 50.8% of the total U.S. population making the figure seem even more skewed. It is an untapped source of much-needed labor, especially skilled labor.

Another article published in ENR.com lists the challenges that many employers must first overcome in order to not only attract but keep necessary workers within the industry. Among the chief reasons many women leave the industry are:

  • Excessive workload, not enough resources
  • Conflicting demands
  • Unclear expectations about goals
  • Lack of opportunities for advancement
  • Low job satisfaction
  • Behaviors that undermine them or are downright uncivil
  • Company cultures that tolerate condescending and patronizing behavior by co-workers and even senior managers
  • No flexibility for work-life balance
  • A culture of putting work before family

Related Courses: OSHA Training

It’s not all doom and gloom, though; many of the issues can be resolved with simple education about the industry and implementing a pathway for skills training development. Unlike other industries, the A/E/C Industries outperform other sectors on wage parity, higher starting wages, and open jobs. There are several groups that are currently helping to get the word out like New York City-based, Nontraditional Employment for Women. Nationally, March is recognized as Women’s History Month, it’s a good opportunity for the A/E/C Industries to show how we offer the career path that many have been looking for.