In addition to Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day this month, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) celebrates women in an industry—that has historically been dominated by men—during Women in Construction (WIC) Week, March 7 to 13.
Women make up 10.9% of the U.S. construction workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and have traditionally held roles in sales, office administration, and management-type roles, but the options for additional career paths in construction are endless, especially in an industry with a known labor shortage.
“The focus of WIC Week is to highlight women as a viable component of the construction industry,” says the NAWIC website. “WIC Week also provides an occasion for NAWIC’s thousands of members across the country to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in construction and to emphasize the growing role of women in the industry.”
To celebrate the week, BUILDER reached out to a handful of key women in several industry roles to ask for their best piece of advice for other women. Whether a woman is looking to enter the industry for the first time or interested in how to advance in the business, the following tips provide insightful information into the minds of women working in construction today and every day.
- Know your stuff: “So many things come to mind, but I think my biggest piece of advice would be know your shit. Sorry about the wording, but when you are knowledgeable about what you are doing and you walk in with your head high and a confidence about you, you are unstoppable. Know your worth and add tax.”—Crissy Ingram, NAWIC executive director
- Don’t hesitate: “If you’re a woman considering getting into the construction industry, don’t hesitate! Women should join this industry because it is everlasting. There will always be new homes to build and remodel and the career opportunities are endless. Now is the time for people to consider a career in the construction industry, which offers immense opportunity when it comes to growth. For example, at 84 Lumber, we are committed to finding the next generation of team members who want to build a career. The industry is broad enough to where you can pick many career paths.”—Maggie Hardy Knox, president at 84 Lumber
- Ask for help: “Never stop asking questions and learning, and don’t be afraid to solicit help or advice along the way. Find employers and mentors who are willing to help you learn and grow professionally. Work with your supervisor to develop professional goals and a plan for achieving them. Also, take your training seriously and never stop being a student of the business. My roles and responsibilities have steadily grown over the past five years because of my willingness to learn from those around me, and also their willingness to mentor me.”—Madison Young, project manager at Adolfson & Peterson Construction
- Don’t listen to the glass ceiling: “You just have to go for it, do your own thing, and really do what your heart says. I think that passion speaks resoundingly in the industry. Follow that up with knowledge, find a good mentor, and reach out to other women in the industry that have walked that path. We are here for you, and we will give you a leg up.”—Linda Hebert, principal at Diversified Marketing & Communications, on the latest episode of NAHB’s podcast Housing Developments