Women are tirelessly working to show that they can be just as big of a part of the roofing industry as their male counterparts, encouraging more generations to join. While the roofing industry is massively dominated by men, women's presence in roofing is a significant step towards diversifying and enriching the industry, hinting at broader changes in the world of construction and skilled trades as a whole.
To celebrate the seventh annual National Women in Roofing Days, we gathered the latest facts and statistics about women in roofing, highlighting the challenges they face within the industry, as well as the opportunities that this sector holds.
Men Still Make Up the Vast Majority of the Roofing Industry
According to Zippia’s roofer demographics and statistics, approximately 4.65% of roofers are female, highlighting a significant gender disparity within the industry. This means that out of a total of 251,805 employees in roofing, only 11,583 are female. The reasons behind this statistic are complex, potentially involving factors such as industry perceptions, gender biases, and barriers to entry.
However, when compared to some other male-dominated sectors roofing is slightly ahead when it comes to gender balance. Only 2% of women make up insulation workers and only 3% are gas fitters. And when we take a closer look at different jobs within roofing, women are bucking the trends of gender norms. For example, 11% of roofing machine operators are women.
The percentage of female roofers in the industry has remained relatively similar to that of 10 years ago. Percentages increased noticeably from 2017 to 2018, taking a dip in 2019. There was a clear anomaly in 2020 as the pandemic hit and women suddenly made up approximately 12% of the roofing workforce.
During 2020, industries with relatively small shares of women employees, such as the construction industry, experienced smaller job declines than other sectors. Specifically, within construction, 15% of male employees lost their jobs, while 11% of female employees faced job losses. This suggests a slightly lower rate of job loss among female employees compared to their male counterparts.
Despite the anomaly in 2020, the percentage of women in roofing has since reverted to levels similar to those in 2016, when the industry comprised around 5% of female roofers.
Challenges Women Face in the Roofing Industry
While the presence of women in the roofing industry marks a significant step forward, it is not without its challenges. The journey for female roofers involves mastering the physical demands of the job and breaking through cultural barriers, highlighting their resilience and determination in a field where they are significantly underrepresented.
Compared to the national average of 84 cents for every dollar, the gender pay gap in the roofing sector is relatively low. Women earn approximately 94 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. However, this still means that the average female income is over $2,000 less annually than that of the average male income in roofing.
This disparity, though narrower than in some other industries, still reflects the broader challenges of wage equality in the general workforce, and proves the need for continued efforts to address pay inequity, ensuring that women are compensated fairly for their skills and contributions in the roofing sector.
Shortage of role models
The shortage of female role models in the roofing industry can pose a challenge for aspiring women in the field. Visible role models not only inspire and empower women but also provide tangible examples of success, breaking traditional gender stereotypes. They play a crucial role in offering guidance and mentorship, which is especially important considering that more than 45% of women in construction have never worked with female construction managers.
Gender bias and stereotypes
Research suggests that women are the victims of 60% of gender discrimination cases in the workplace, and the roofing industry is no exception. These biases not only hinder individual careers but also impact the overall diversity and growth of the construction industry in general. To overcome these challenges, it is essential to cultivate an environment that values and nurtures the talents of all employees, regardless of gender.
Why Should Women Consider a Career in Roofing?
Despite their numbers, the women who do work in roofing are breaking new ground and challenging traditional norms. Their presence within the industry is a crucial step towards diversity and inclusivity in the sector, paving the way for more women to see roofing as a viable and rewarding career option.
The roofing industry is growing
The roofing industry offers promising career opportunities, particularly for women looking to enter this field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry is projected to grow, creating new job opportunities. By 2026, it is expected to generate 3,100 new jobs.
This growth is driven by factors such as the need for roof replacement and repair, advancements in roofing technology, and the ongoing development of new buildings. The expansion of the industry suggests a growing demand for skilled workers, making it an opportune time for women to consider roofing as a viable and rewarding career path.
Skilled labor shortage
The roofing industry is currently facing a skilled labor shortage, which is opening doors for new entrants into the workforce. This gap is primarily due to a need for more experienced workers, prompting the industry to be more receptive to training and hiring individuals who are new to the field, as well as offering higher salaries.
This situation presents a unique opportunity for women interested in roofing to step in and fill these roles, contributing to an industry that is essential to infrastructure and construction. With the right training and support, women can rapidly develop the necessary skills to thrive in this expanding sector.
Women are being recognized for their contribution to the industry
Women in the roofing industry are increasingly being recognized for their hard work and contributions. This acknowledgment, coming from companies and organizations within the industry, underscores the vital role women play in roofing projects.
For instance, the National Women in Roofing (NWiR) organization annually presents the World Award to a woman who has made outstanding contributions to the field. This award and similar recognitions are indicative of a positive shift towards inclusivity and appreciation of the diverse skills women bring to the industry.
Fixr.com also celebrated the work of female roofing experts in its 20 Top Experts in the Roofing Industry 2024, featuring those who are currently making a mark on the industry thanks to their contribution to advancing this sector’s landscape.
Support from organizations
Organizations dedicated to supporting women in the roofing industry are playing a crucial role in fostering inclusivity and growth. These organizations focus on recruiting women through targeted strategies, creating networking opportunities, and providing educational and mentoring programs.
Such initiatives are vital for creating a supportive and inclusive environment in the roofing industry. They equip women with the necessary skills and connections, empowering them to succeed and thrive in their careers within this traditionally male-dominated field.
The presence of successful women in leadership roles within roofing can greatly influence the career paths of emerging female professionals, encouraging more women to pursue and thrive in this sector.
Support Resources for Women in Roofing
Here are some resources actively supporting women in roofing offering a wide variety of programs like education, mentoring, community service, careers in roofing & recruitment into the industry, networking, recognitions, and awards.
- National Women in Roofing (NWIR)
- National Association for Women in Construction (NAWIC)
- Women Construction Owners & Executives (WCOE)
- Beacon's Female Roofing Professional Competition
- RoofersCoffeeShop (RCS)
- Harness & Heels - Women in Roofing
How Women in Roofing Drive Industry Growth
Increasing female participation in the construction industry can not only address labor shortages, drive economic growth, and lead to more diverse and innovative workplaces, but it also holds significant potential for boosting the U.S. economy.
Women joining the roofing workforce could help dispel stereotypes and reassure female customers who might feel marginalized in male-dominated sectors. And since women influence 70-80% of all consumer purchasing decisions, it’s clear that their presence can significantly contribute to this industry. The inclusion of women in roofing, therefore, is not just a step towards workforce diversity, but also a strategic approach to building client trust and expanding market reach.
Written byIrena Martincevic Industry analyst
Irena is an industry analyst at Fixr.com. She analyzes and looks for visual ways to simplify data. She has been researching and writing about personal finance since 2018. At Fixr.com, she is constantly looking to give homeowners the best advice on how to invest in their homes.