Building Gender Equality in Construction

February 16, 2022

A recent article, entitled “Women in Construction: The State of the Industry in 2022”, reports that, of all the employees currently working in the U.S construction industry, women comprise only 10.9% of the sector’s entire workforce. Published by BigRentz, North America’s largest online construction equipment rental marketplace, the article outlines some of the reasons why current female representation in construction amounts to a mere 1.25% of the nationally available workforce. There are several factors contributing to this enormous gender gap, including unconscious gender bias, a lack of adequate training and negative perceptions of women working in construction.

What does this mean for Canada?

Domestically, this alarming reality is nothing new . Within Canada, the industry has also been grabbling with the labour shortage question, and what to do about it, for some time. In a 2019 report on the subject, the Canadian Construction Association proposed that the domestic industry must focus its recruitment efforts on traditionally underrepresented groups such as women, Indigenous Canadians, and new Canadians as not just well-intentioned corporate social responsibility but solid, measurable business strategies. The report argues that diverse teams are more equipped to foster innovation. Innovation leads to better results. And better results drive growth, performance, and profit.  The good news is that post-pandemic economic trends in many regions of North America suggest that a much-needed re-alignment of the gender imbalance within the sector may be possible. As consumers took advantage of low interest rates and increased pandemic-related savings to relocate for remote work, the construction industry experienced historic gains during the early stages of the global pandemic. This positive trend is expected to continue well into 2022. Additionally, according to the national job market outlook, the U.S. economy added at least 5.2 million jobs in 2021 and is forecast to gain 3.6 million construction jobs in 2022. Given this increased demand on both fronts, construction companies seeking to urgently address workforce shortages, would be wise to consider ramping up female recruitment as an on-going component to their long-term hiring strategies.  

Who is making a difference today?

Today, there are incredibly accomplished women, already working in the construction industry, who are inspiring younger generations to follow them. The BigRentz article cites Kim Roy (CEO for HITT Contracting), Meirav Oren (CEO of Versatile) and Kylie Rampa (Head of Investment, Lendlease Australia) as shining examples of female leaders who fully understand the challenges of the current gender gap and are forging ahead with tangible action and solutions.  Annual conferences that specifically celebrate and discuss the topic of women in construction, including the NAWIC’s Annual Conference and the Groundbreaking Women in Construction conference, continue to bring awareness to the gender equality issue. Here in Canada, the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum’s new CHAMPIONS4CHANGE pledge campaign is a national community action strategy dedicated to supporting more female representation in the trades. And since 1982, The Canadian Association of Women in Construction provides women the opportunity to demonstrate their valuable leadership and develop their in-demand skills by facilitating female participation on industry committees and boards.

Access Canadian Resources

Whether you are a tradeswoman, employer or educator working in the Canadian skilled trades industries, you can find valuable tools online, listed by province, for creating healthy, safe, and inclusive workplaces for women. Simply visit the Supporting Women in Trades website, where you can access a library of resources including best-practise tips for supervisors, programs and initiatives that provide support for women and essential information young women need about the exciting career opportunities within construction. As a company co-founded by a groundbreaking female entrepreneur, Credivera already knows that gender diversity is a proven asset in driving growth and profitability. We fully support the on-going initiatives happening globally, nationally, and provincially that aim to level the playing field and we look forward to the construction sector becoming a more diverse and inclusive community for future generations of female workers. We’d love to hear your nominees for women leading progressive change within Canadian construction. Tag us on Twitter at @crediveratech with your suggestions! For more industry insights, visit the Credivera blog here. For more Credivera product and team news, click here.  

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