Construction Industry Seeks a Few Good Women

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Females could alleviate shortage of workers.

September 06, 2000


Women Employed in Construction Trades
1984 1994 1999
Female 1.7% 2.2% 2.6%
Total construction 4.6 mil. 5.0 mil. 5.8mil

In 1999, a Construction Industry Institute study found that 75% of contractors were experiencing shortages, resulting in cost overruns and schedule delays.

Only 2.6% of the 5.8 million people employed in construction are women, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The construction industry needs to attract 240,000 workers each year to replace retirees and workers transferring to other vocations. An increase of women workers could alleviate this shortage, which might worsen between 1998 and 2008 because young workers are reluctant to seek training for jobs in the construction industry.

Carmel Nayman, executive director of the NAHB Women’s Council, says women can be just as successful as male counterparts. "Women that I talk to in the trade tell me that you don’t need to be strong, but you need to be smart," says Nayman.

"You don’t have to be a feminist to be a contractor. Anybody can participate -- that is what makes the field so great."

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