According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly a million women in the construction industry today, compared to over 9 million men. The gender gap clearly needs to change, especially since there are so many available jobs in the construction industry.
At the same time, the construction industry needs to be revamped into one that employs young blood to close the generational gap. Millennials now outnumber Generation X and the Baby Boomers in the workforce; however, their numbers in the construction industry are still far too low.
How to Bring More Women into Construction to Close the Gender Gap
There needs to be a change in culture to balance out the gender disparity in the construction industry. Many utilize the concept of company culture and reassess things like schedules, workspaces, etc. However, there also needs to be a thorough review of maternity leave, training, and childcare if women are going to be more invested in the sector.
Schemes like returnships and mentorships can go a long way into getting women into the industry. They will ensure that more women are taught by women, so more women are encouraged to take part in construction. It’s a positive feedback loop that feeds into itself.
There’s no doubt that the nature of the industry bows towards more masculine standards, and is not seen as a place that women need be in. This gender gap in the construction industry needs to change, not only for the sake of decency but for the sake of the economy as well.
The Association of General Contractors of America estimated that although 75% of construction firms want to expand payrolls in 2018, 82% of them said it’s harder to recruit qualified workers. This means that whoever is qualified, needs to come forward and claim those positions, male or female.
There are various programs available to encourage more women to apply for construction jobs (like mentorships) and to encourage educational changes for younger women. Women should be part of conversations that make them feel that they’re on equal footing with men in the field.
The construction industry is no longer the burly boys club that it once was. It needs intelligent people to help move huge loads, to direct projects and to design, so that the buildings that are built up to the mark. Construction isn’t a male or female industry; it just requires talent and ingenuity. So why should the workers be differentiated by gender?
How to Bring More Millennials into Construction to Close the Generational Gap
According to the 2017 construction management statistics, more and more people trend towards adopting technology to improve efficiency. Of those respondents, 56% said that they were using three or more devices during their work in construction.
However, the staffing issues are just as glaring here. Millennials, which make up the biggest chunk of the workforce today, aren’t signing up for construction jobs. Technology is a big motivator that can help them enter the construction industry.
There need to be mentorship programs for the young and the old in the construction industry for a variety of reasons. The first is so that they can have equal opportunities in today’s world. Someone with years of experience in the industry shouldn’t be completely shut out because they don’t know how to use the latest app. On the flip side, the most talented individual that is applying for construction shouldn’t have to deal with old software and outdated methods that they have clearly outpaced due to their age and the fast-moving world.
To close the gap, you need to take advantage of the highly skilled baby boomers and GenXers on your staff as well as the wide-eyed fresh talent that comes through the door. Putting them on a level playing field – in terms of technology – will help them communicate better and transfer the knowledge that they have across a single platform.
This is how you get more millennials into the workforce and bridge the generational gap. Not only will this help them understand each other better, but to contribute new strategies and implement them in real life more quickly.
Once they’re speaking the same language, they will be able to coordinate and plan better.
Bridging the generational and gender gaps in the construction industry is very important. The reason for this is simple: the construction industry is more important than ever today, with more people needing homes, more cities being built, and more areas in the world being populated.
If the gaps between gender and generations aren’t filled, many construction jobs may go unfilled in the future to the detriment of human civilization.
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