While contractors are beginning to adopt more advanced technologies, data shows they are not making the same level of progress when it comes to employing women on the jobsite. The percentage of employees who are women on the jobsite still averages below 10%. That’s according to the Q4 2019 Commercial Construction Index (CCI), released by USG Corp. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

On average, contractors reported that just 7% of their onsite workers are women. However, 31% said they weren’t sure about the percentage of women on the jobsite. Nearly half of companies with fewer than ten people said they have no women working for them onsite while all those from companies with 100 or more employees said they have some percentage of women onsite.

Contractors identified the top obstacles they perceive as preventing companies from drawing more women into the construction industry are:

  • The perception of a hostile work environment (56%);
  • The physical nature of work onsite (56%);
  • Lack of mentorship (26%);
  • Unclear path for advancement (24%);
  • Pay gap (17%);
  • Inflexible hours (16%);
  • Concerns about safety (12%); and
  • Concerns about job security (11%).

In spite of the many obstacles preventing women from joining the construction industry, contractors also gave ways they believe could help to recruit more women including:

  • Creating a better perception of construction industry professions in general (49%);
  • More industry outreach to schools directed at girls and women (40%);
  • More examples of successful women in the industry featured in media (39%);
  • Mentorship programs designed to include women (35%); and
  • Creating a more welcoming culture to women within organizations (33%).

A clearer path for advancement, better pay and more flexible hours were also reported as top ways to recruit more women.

Mentorship was valued as a top recruiting method in the Midwest, where 52% selected it among their top three ways, compared to just 22% in the Northeast.

This story was originally featured in the USGlass daily newsletter USGNN and can be found here.

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