Survey: 71% Agree Opportunities for Women in Construction are Increasing

In celebration of Women In Construction Week being held March 7-13, The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and Safe Site Check In today announced the results of a workforce survey of more than 700 women in construction, who answered questions about the opportunities for women in construction, workplace equality and the impact of the pandemic.

Among the key findings 71 percent of respondents agree the opportunities are increasing. Another 28 percent believe they are about the same while one percent report the opportunities are decreasing.

“Now is a great time for women to work in construction. There are more job opportunities across a variety of professional, trade and administration fields and the gender pay gap is significantly smaller. On average, women in construction earn 99.1 percent of their male colleagues,” said Crissy Ingram, executive director, NAWIC.

When it comes to equality in the workplace, participants were asked, “On a scale of 1-100, how does your employer rank in treating men and women equally?” While more than half of the participants ranked their employer at 80 or above, the survey results indicate room for improvement as evidenced by the following responses:

  • 24% ranked their employer at 100
  • 22% ranked their employer at 90 or above
  • 13% ranked their employer between 80-89
  • 11% ranked their employer between 79-70
  • 6% ranked their employer between 69-60
  • 24% ranked their employer below 60

Long-term Impact of Pandemic on Construction

COVID-19 has impacted the workload with 32 percent of respondents working more while 58 percent are working about the same as before the pandemic, and 10 percent report working fewer hours.

In response to the question, “Are you concerned about contracting COVID-19 at work?” 70 percent of respondents answered “no” while 30 percent responded “yes.”

Additionally, the pandemic has introduced new job site and office protocols. These include technology driven processes as well as traditional approaches to preventing the spread of the virus on job sites.

When survey participants were provided multiple choices to the question, “Which of the following COVID-19 safety protocols does your employer enforce?” respondents provided the following answers:

  • Staying home if you’re feeling sick: 96%
  • Social distancing: 90%
  • Frequent handwashing: 76%
  • Health screenings: 44%
  • Digital check in: 27%
  • Contact tracing: 16%

Survey participants were then asked, “Which of the new COVID-19 protocols do you think will continue after the pandemic?” The top three responses were frequent handwashing at 75%, followed by digital check in and contact tracing, which remained at the same percentages as current protocols. Based on the data, it appears that digital check-in technology, an innovation that resulted from COVID-19, is likely to become part of job site protocols after the pandemic.

“We’re not surprised to see digital check-ins become part of post pandemic protocols. Originally developed for secure health screenings and private contact tracing, digital check in saves hours each day while eliminating paper based processes,” said David Ward, CEO, Safe Site Check In. “Today, we’re seeing construction businesses use digital check in to assign tasks, locations, and supervisors to employees upon arrival, support facilities planning, and reconcile invoices with hours worked.”

Other protocols are likely to be relaxed. Social distancing dropped from 90 percent to 22 percent, staying home if you’re feeling sick plummeted 88 points to 8 percent, and health screenings decreased by half, going from 44 to 22 percent.

Survey Participants

The survey was conducted in February 2021 and 718 NAWIC members participated. Survey participants represent all areas of the construction industry across private and public sectors. Job titles and roles include: C-Suite executives (CEO, COO, CFO), vice presidents, business owners, attorneys, accounting, administration, appraisers, architects, draftsman, electricians, engineers, estimators, HVAC technicians, inspectors, interior design, HR, pipefitters, plumbers, project managers, roofers, safety officers, sales, schedulers, welders, and more.

The majority of survey participants, 49 percent, have been working in construction for 16 or more years. Those with 11-15 years and 6-10 years of experience were equally split at 15 percent for each category, followed by 21 percent having worked in construction five years or less. Additionally, 57 percent work in the office, 40 percent work both in the office and the field, and 3 percent work solely in the field.

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