Surety Bond Professionals is a family owned and operated bonding agency with over 30 years of experience. With access to a broad range of surety markets, our expert agents are ready to assist with all of your construction bond needs.
What Percentage of Construction Workers Are Female?: 2022 Statistics
In September 2022, approximately 7.7 million people were employed in the U.S. construction industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 14% of construction workers in October 2022 were female. Both the number of women working in the construction industry and the number of construction-related companies owned by women have increased since 2014, despite some disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As of 2020, Hispanic women outnumber White women working in construction in the United States. This segment of the construction workforce grew by 117% between 2016 and 2020. Most Hispanic women entering the construction workforce do so in job site positions, not office jobs.
States with the Most and the Least Women in Construction
Though not technically a state, Washington, D.C. has the most women employed in construction (17.6%). In order, the remaining states in the top five are Arizona, Florida, Washington, and Oregon. This can be useful information for women seeking employment in the construction industry.
The five states with the fewest women in the construction industry are Kentucky, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Maine, and Delaware.
Reasons for the Increasing Number of Women in Construction
The increase in female representation in construction predates the pandemic due in part to the aging of the construction workforce and the decline in the number of young people entering the trades. In 2016, unemployment in the construction industry hit its lowest point since 2000, requiring recruiters to look beyond the usual pool of male construction workers to fill vacant jobs.
Since 2016, there has been a steady increase in the number of women entering the construction trade. Women have benefited from the efforts of labor groups to increase the pool of skilled workers available for employment in the construction trades.
Many local, regional, and national programs have been established to make it easier for women to get trained and hired and to remain in construction long-term. For example, Chicago Women in Trades, well-known for its local efforts, opened a national center in 2016 to collaborate with state and local governments, organizations, and corporations to support women working in construction. And in October 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced its Million Women in Construction initiative with the goal of bringing another million women into the construction industry over the next 10 years.
Issues Women in the Construction Trades Face
There still are some barriers to entry for women considering a career in construction. In a male-dominated field, unconscious gender bias can influence hiring decisions. Women also may be deterred from seeking a construction job by reports of gender-based harassment from some male construction workers. Nearly 60% of female construction workers between the ages of 28 and 40 have alleged to be the targets of such harassment.
To make construction a viable long-term career option for women, employers also need to address such inequities as the lack of women’s restrooms on jobsites, personal protection equipment designed to fit men, not women, and the lack of childcare options.
The Future of Women-Owned Construction Businesses
It’s becoming more common for women with some construction experience to start their own construction-related businesses. About 13% of all construction companies are now owned by women, a 94% increase since 2007. Only about 9% of women-owned businesses in the construction industry are making more than $500,000 a year, so there is plenty of room for growth in both the number of women-owned companies and their revenues.
One thing that women who own construction companies will need to do to grow their business is to establish the necessary bonding capacity to compete for jobs that require the purchase of one or more construction surety bonds.
Building Bonding Capacity
There was a time when the only construction contracts requiring performance and payment bonds were those subject to the federal Miller Act or one of the state-level “Little” Miller Acts. But the risk inherent in the construction industry is prompting an increasing number of private project owners to also require such bonds.
Surety bond underwriters rely heavily on a construction bond applicant’s industry experience, financial strength, and stability to approve a bond and set the annual bond premium rate. It is never too early for the female owner of a construction company to get her personal finances in order and document as much construction industry experience as possible.
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