Home Articles

Women in Construction Week 2024: Management Role Increases and Other Key Statistics

Written by Adam Graham

Published on February 26, 2024


Women in Construction Week 2024: Management Role Increases and Other Key Statistics

We share key statistics from the industry and interviews with women as we celebrate Women in Construction Week 2024.

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, we consult a number of sources when producing each article, including licensed contractors and industry experts.

Read about our editorial process here. Want to use our cost data? Click here.

The rise of women in management roles demonstrates a cultural shift within the industry. It suggests a move away from rigid gender norms and towards a more inclusive workplace culture where skills and qualifications are valued over gender.

Kabri Lehrman-Schmid

On March 3, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) celebrates its annual Women in Construction Week™ to help promote the role of women in the industry. This year’s theme of ‘keys to the future’ speaks for itself, highlighting the aim to build on the progress already made and continuing to promote women not only joining the workforce but also breaking stereotypes and taking leadership roles. 

While the total number of women in construction has increased only slightly since last year, there are still almost 1.3 million, which is 10.8% of the total workforce. To get an overall understanding of the state of affairs we have analyzed current data and interviewed women in the construction industry. 

Women in Construction Week™: Latest Industry Numbers

We have taken the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to visually share the current picture of women in construction. Below, we explore the continuous year-on-year rise in the number of women in the industry, the number of women currently working, and the states that have the most women working in construction.

Year-on-year increase of women in construction for over a decade

For the last 11 consecutive years, the number of women in the construction industry has increased. That also amounts to a 60.5% increase since 2012 with almost half a million women added to the sector in this time frame. While other influences can play their part in how many women leave the workforce or are recruited, the continuous positive trend is extremely promising, highlighting the good work from events such as Women in Construction Week™. 

Kabri Lehrman-Schmid, Project Superintendent at Hensel Phelps Construction Co., comments on this, saying “This shift is more than a demographic shift; it's a heartening progression towards a more innovative, inclusive, and empathetic industry.” Mandi Kime, Director of Safety at Associated General Contractors of Washington, adds that this continuous increase is “helping shape a new construction workforce that has more diverse and creative ideas, solutions, and workplace cultures.”

A diverse workforce is not the only benefit here, however. “The growth in the number of women working in the construction industry must continue for several reasons,” explains Jocelyn Knoll, Partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, “1. More women are needed to fill the labor shortages caused by baby boomers retiring from the skilled trades; 2. More women are needed to fill the impending shortage caused by baby boomers retiring from the executive ranks; and 3. More women are needed to fill the need caused by new sectors such as renewable energy, including offshore wind.” 

The increase is 40,000 less than the previous year

It is also worth taking into consideration that the number of women in construction increased by 43,000 from 2021 to 2022, but by only 3,000 from 2022 to 2023. Rita Brown, Founder of Brown Construction Collective (BCC+), comments on this, saying “The increase has been incremental at best and skewed if you compare onsite to in-office roles. As an industry patting ourselves on the back for this minute increase is disingenuous. It's vital that the industry make authentic and significant investments in tooling up our workforce with much more intent. That means addressing long-term shifts in the structure of an industry that was predicated on a male-centric workflow.”

She continues to share that “In the state of MI I believe there was a significant reduction reflecting in a 13% to now 9.9% apprenticeship rate being populated by women. Concerning.” 

Knoll believes that there are explanations behind the slowdown in the past year: “This is an alarming statistic. But I suspect the primary reason for the sharp decrease year-over-year is COVID. During the pandemic, the construction industry bled jobs, creating a significant labor shortage. Coming out of the pandemic, job openings were plentiful and the industry as a whole had a substantial backlog, which led to a hiring frenzy—and women new to the industry benefited from this rare event. But in the past year or so, interest rates have risen, resulting in decreased need in certain sectors of the industry.”

States with the most women in construction

When breaking down the percentage of the total number of women in construction in each state, we see that there are some differences across the country. D.C. boasts the biggest percentage with 17.6% of its total construction workforce being women. This is much higher than the national average of 10.9%. Elsewhere, Arizona (15.6%) and Florida (14.5%) also have high percentages of women in the construction workforce. There are also quite a few states that fall below the national average and where a lack of diversity remains an issue, the lowest being Delaware, where only 6.8% of construction workers are women.

Related Resource: Construction services guides

Women's Representation in Construction Occupations

Women in management positions have grown by over 10% 

Since last year, 100% of the increase in women in the construction industry was seen in management, professional, and related occupations. The graphic below shows that this equates to 48,000 more women in these roles compared to the previous year. That’s an increase of 10.4%. 

When asked about what this increase in management-related roles says about the industry in general in terms of gender neutrality, Kime says “I think that having competent female leadership shows great representation which incentivizes our women in the industry to not only enter the industry but also encourages them to set goals and stay in our industry for their whole career.” 

Lehrman-Schmid comments “The rise of women in management roles demonstrates a cultural shift within the industry.” She continues to say that “it reflects a growing recognition of the value of diversity in leadership [...] women in management roles in construction pave the way for future generations, challenging stereotypes and providing role models for young women considering careers in this field.”

Yet there were notable losses in all other construction areas for women in the last year. Jennifer Todd, Founder and President of LMS General Contractors, comments “The number of women leaving the construction industry doesn't reflect their lack of knowledge or physical capabilities, but rather their lack of support. Women leave the construction field due to a lack of respect and harassment, poor career advancement opportunities, and a lack of flexibility as parents. Again, these aren't "construction-related" issues; they're people-related.”

40% of women in construction are now in leadership roles

Over half a million (511,000) women are employed in management, professional, and related job roles. That is 40% of the total number of women who work in the construction industry. Elsewhere, 34% (437,000) of women work in sales and office occupations. This number drops to 24% (304,000) for natural resources, construction, and maintenance roles. Production, transportation, material moving, and service occupations continue to have low female representation, with only 22,000 (2%) and 14,000 (1%) women employed in these fields, respectively.

While a promising statistic, Todd says “The presence of more women in management roles signifies progress but we have a long way to go.” When asked about what more can be done to attract women to more on-site occupations, Knoll says “The formula is simple: recruitment and training. That said, the industry must also focus on retention. Job sites are still rough and tumble environments, especially for women. To retain women, the industry must devote additional resources to making women feel safe and part of the team on site.” 

Todd also comments on attracting more tradeswomen; “Construction companies must address their workplace culture if they wish to attract more tradeswomen. Leadership involves acknowledging and correcting the unconscious gender biases women experience on the job site. Men onsite need to show up as allies and hold ‘bad apples’ accountable.”

Men continue to outweigh women in 4 out of 5 occupational areas 

When it comes to diversity in different areas of the industry, the above graphic highlights the evident lack of it. What is thought of as traditional job roles for either a man or woman remain. Men far outnumber women by 96% to 4% in onsite, physical roles such as production and construction itself. Women only outnumber men in sales and office occupations. However, this has also seen the biggest shift in the last year, dropping by 6.1%. 

How to attract more women to onsite roles

So how do we encourage more women into roles other than sales and office-based? Project Superintendent Kabri Lehrman-Schmid goes into detail about the various necessary steps: 

  • Education and Awareness: Promoting construction careers at a young age is crucial. This can be achieved through partnerships with schools and educational institutions to introduce girls to construction and engineering concepts. Career fairs, workshops, and mentorship programs can play a significant role in sparking interest. Consider job shadowing opportunities for young people.

  • Targeted Recruitment: Construction companies should actively seek to recruit women. This can involve advertising job postings on platforms frequented by women and working with organizations dedicated to women in construction. Emphasizing an inclusive culture in job descriptions can also attract more female candidates. Employers should consider offering incentives for women on their teams, who are passionate about recruitment, to participate in the process of hiring other women.

  • Supportive Work Environment: Creating a work environment that is welcoming and safe for women is essential. This includes implementing strict policies against discrimination and harassment, providing necessary facilities like gender-neutral restrooms, and ensuring that all employees are treated with respect.

  • Mentorship and Role Models: Having women in leadership positions can inspire other women to pursue careers in construction. Mentorship programs where experienced women in the industry guide and support newcomers can help in retaining and empowering female employees.

  • Flexible Work Policies: Construction is often perceived as a field with rigid schedules, and the economy provides limited options for childcare that starts early and runs late. Implementing flexible work hours, and considering job shares, or part-time opportunities can make the field more attractive to women, especially those balancing family responsibilities. Until society reduces the expectation for women as primary family caregivers, their participation in the industry will be constrained by employers’ flexibility and creativity to provide logistically feasible opportunities.

  • Professional Development and Training: Offering training programs that help women develop necessary skills and advance in their careers can encourage more women to stay and grow in the industry. Assess if women on the team are being given the same opportunities for training as other employees.

  • Networking and Community Building: Encouraging women to participate in networks and associations for women in construction can provide them with a sense of community and support. This can include hosting events, workshops, and forums where women can share experiences and advice.

  • Public Perception and Media Representation: Changing the public perception of construction as a male-dominated field is vital. This can be achieved through media campaigns and success stories showcasing women thriving in construction roles.”

Challenges and Support for Women in Construction

The biggest challenge of being a woman in construction is the constant reminder that you are a woman in construction.

Jennifer Todd, Founder and President of LMS General Contractors

Obstacles and inequalities still to overcome

Many steps have been taken to get more women into the construction industry. Yet, some aspects still need a lot of focus to get better. Brown highlights “We are still facing basic equity issues when it comes to training opportunities and advancement in the field.” Knoll points out some historical inequalities that linger: “Unfortunately, the stereotypical biases still exist, i.e., some men continue to believe they are better suited to succeed in construction jobs, especially the trades.” 

There are also more practical concerns, as Lehrman-Schmid notes “The impact of being in the minority is also evident in health and safety concerns. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and facilities rarely cater to women's needs, posing significant safety and health risks.”  

Associations for women

Entering a male-dominated industry can be daunting. But there are an array of associations to support women. Brown shares her experience of using support networks, saying “I'm a member of several. Specific to female memberships are NABWIC [representing black women in construction, mainly businesses] and NAWIC [representing women in construction in general], CAWIC [Canadian Women in Construction], WCOE [business owners], and NAHB - PWB [residential women in construction]. Most trades have committees or groups within their systems as do most colleges well. Sister in the Brotherhood [Carpenters & Millwrights], and IBEW women's committees as examples.”

Keys to the Future: Final Thoughts from Women in Construction

The construction industry needs more workers. And there is no reason why women shouldn’t fill the gaps. 85% of construction firms have open positions that they are trying to fill. Of those businesses, 88% are having issues filling some of the positions, particularly among the craft workforce. In 2024 construction industry needs to attract 501,000 new workers to be able to balance the supply and demand. Couple this with the need to diversify the industry, there is ample opportunity for women in construction. As this year’s Women in Construction Week™ states; they hold the keys to the future. 

“It must be said that a career in construction is exciting, fulfilling, and economically sustaining; for me, being a woman in construction field operations has been highly rewarding and a positive experience in several ways.”
Kabri Lehrman-Schmid

“It's important to note that I, like most other women I know, are present in this industry because we are competent construction professionals who are dedicated to providing for our families and building careers that have meaning.”
Rita Brown

“I have had many male peers in the industry make space for me, recognize my accomplishments, and accept my input.”
Mandi Kime

“The construction industry is filled with opportunities. It’s not perfect, but I like the opportunities that exist today—and future opportunities will undoubtedly continue to grow—for women who are serious about building strong careers, whether in the field or the C-suite.”
Jocelyn Knoll

Further Resources:
Women Construction Owners & Executives USA
Professional Women in Construction (PWC)
Groundbreaking Women in Construction (GWIC) conference
Tradeswomen events
National Association of Black Women in Construction (NABWIC)
Nontraditional Employment for Women


Written by

Adam Graham Construction Industry Analyst

Adam Graham is a construction industry analyst at Fixr.com. He has experience writing about home construction, interior design, and real estate. He communicates with experts and journalists to make sure we provide the most up-to-date and fact-checked information. He has been featured in publications such as Better Homes and Gardens, and written for various outlets including the National Association of Realtors, and Insurance News Net Magazine.