The construction and civil engineering industry in New York has long been a male-dominated arena. The industry today is gradually adding more women to their job sites and offices. They are filling diverse roles as painters to construction technologists. The Women in Construction Week (March 7th to 13th) offers several great things for the entire sector to celebrate – from greater opportunities for women to a reduced gender pay gap.
Reddy Kancharla – The role of women in the civil engineering industry today
Reddy Kancharla, an esteemed civil engineer, geotechnical consultant, and commercial construction specialist with over 25 years of invaluable experience in the industry, says women in the industry today occupy just 10.3 percent of the total workforce. This means that around 1.1 million women in the construction industry continue to grow every year as per the National Association of Women in Construction or NAWIC.
As activity and jobs in the construction industry gradually return to normalcy in 2021-2022, reports by JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle- a leading name in commercial real estate) forecast the industry will add over two million fresh jobs. This means the recruitment of women in more construction companies is likely to increase in the next few years.
Security for women, especially during the Pandemic
The Pandemic resulted in above 5 million women leaving or losing their jobs, and this downward trend has been dubbed as the “She-Cession.” In January 2021, about 275,000 women versus 71,000 men left the construction workforce, as per reports released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The predicament faced by women during the Pandemic
The current Pandemic has indeed placed women in a difficult spot. They had to make a choice between caring for their kids at home or staying with their jobs as daycare units for children had to be shut, and schools went ahead with virtual classes. For some women, this has been extremely challenging as they had to completely think over their career choices to sustain themselves during the crisis.
For example, those women who were working in retail, food, and bar sectors were particularly hit hard by the Pandemic in New York. In the retail sector alone, more than half of the workers are women. Around 383,000 jobs were lost since February 2020, as per reports released by McKinsey & Company.
It is obvious from the above; there was perhaps no better phrase for women to start their careers in construction and civil engineering. The shortages in the workforce were a big concern, and new talent was needed for rebuilding the economy and repairing the US infrastructure that was crumbling due to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Reddy Kancharla says that when it comes to the front line of the construction and civil engineering industry, there is just one in every 100 employees in the sector are women. However, Smart Asset’s study discovered that the number of women workers with the designation “construction manager” increased by about 101% from 2015-2019, making the number approximately 100,000. This makes the construction and the civil engineering industry the 3rd fastest-growing employment opportunities for women today in the USA.