Most people in the construction industry understand there is a shortage of skilled workers and that the void is projected to become larger in the coming years. Giles Lamberston, a respected writer for ConstructionEquipmentGuide.com, believes that creating a more welcoming environment for female workers could be a solution to fill some of the openings.
We at the North America Heavy Equipment Training Services (NAHETS) agree and welcome women into our training environments. Lamberston admits that women working in the construction industry aren’t a new concept, but the numbers are still small. In 2010, women made up only 9% of the total of construction workers.
In 2005, there were more than a million women working in the industry but that number has dropped to around 800,000 due to the difficult economy of the last few years. In addition to the economy, the overall industry doesn’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for women. Lamberston wrote the following about the harsh reality of the obstacles that women—and the overall construction and heavy equipment industry—have to overcome to see an increase in a female workforce:
“Reasons for the general under-employment of females are not difficult to understand. In the first place, dirty, loud, physically stressful work sites are not a natural draw to lots of people, male or female. There wouldn’t be a shortage of labor in the industry were that not the case…In addition, contractors with female laborers may have to provide redesigned and resized personal protective gear and cleaner and separate restrooms and changing rooms, develop new lifting regimens to accommodate women, and avoid assigning female employees to workplaces that pose reproductive risk … But now attracting more women into construction could be a previously unrecognized win-win. This is the right time to put on the thinking hardhats and turn the gender problem into a solution.”
The future also worries many in the construction industry. According to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders, 46% of the builders surveyed reported a current shortage of workers in nine different categories of tradesmen. In an article in the USA Today, industry experts believe that with so many young people going to college and older workers entering retirement, many construction companies are finding that there are not enough skilled workers to fill the positions available.
The fact is that the construction and heavy equipment industry offers a lot of opportunities for both men and women, and those who are trained and ready with the necessary experience are the ones who move to the top of ladder when it comes to selecting jobs. The future is now and we at NAHETS can assist companies in training new employees or also work with women—and men—who are looking for a career in the construction industry. Thanks for reading; our welcome mat is always out.