Top U.S. cities for women in construction

Men outnumber women in construction, substantially, but more women continue to join the field and often at higher wages than they would in other careers.

Women make up 10% of the construction workforce — 1.1 million women, compared to 9.9 million men — according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Despite the gap in the number of workers, women in construction make nearly $47,000 a year, more than their non-construction counterparts, who make about $43,400.

The opposite is true for men, who often make less in construction than they do in other careers. The pay gap for men and women is also smaller in construction, at 3.7% compared to 19% across all fields.

 

In a new analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Construction Coverage magazine broke down the cities in the U.S. with the highest share of women construction workers.  Here are the top 20 large U.S. cities (population of 350,000 or more) by their share of female construction workers:

Rank City Female employment share Median annual earning
1 Minneapolis 19.1% $54,521
2 Seattle 17.6% $70,966
3 San Francisco 17% $70,711
4 Washington, D.C. 16.1% $52,035
5 Virginia Beach, Virginia 15.5% $52,325
6 Colorado Springs, Colorado 15.4% $55,363
7 Atlanta 14.6% $44,346
8 El Paso, Texas 14.1% $35,710
9 Charlotte, North Carolina 13.6% $36,988
10 Wichita, Kansas 13.4% $40,067
11 San Diego 13.3% $53,990
12 Tampa, Florida 13.3% $53,990
13 Kansas City, Missouri 13.1% $41,742
14 Portland, Oregon 13% $63,892
15 Baltimore 12.3% $50,740
16 Louisville, Kentucky 12.1% $46,560
17 New Orleans 11.9% $37,300
18 Austin, Texas 11.8% $40,595
19 Denver 11.7% $49,437
20 Columbus, Ohio 11.7% $40,913

SOURCE: Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau Data by Construction Coverage

 

The number of women with the title construction manager increased by 101%, from 49,400 to 99,4000, between 2015 and 2019, according to a recent study by Smart Asset.  That made it the third highest grossing position for women in that time period.

More women also began working as construction and maintenance painters (a 64% increase to 53,300) and construction laborers (a 50% increase to 71,800).  The number of women who chose careers as civil engineers also grew by 46%, from 45,400 to 66,000.

The Smart Asset study used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks information on jobs in all industries. Its most recent analysis shows that the construction jobs popular with women have a range of salaries, from about $156,000 for the high end of a construction manager salary to a high end of about $68,000 for laborers and painters.

The statistics show women increasingly are joining the construction workforce, though it’s unclear how that may have been impacted by COVID-19.  Nevertheless, industry insiders still say more work needs to be done to attract women to construction.

“We clearly have much more work to do as an industry to recruit, hire and retain a more diverse population of workers, particularly women,” Brian Turmail, Vice President of public affairs and strategic initiatives at the Associated General Contractors of America, told Construction Dive.  “The good news is we are heading in the right direction.  Moving forward, [the AGC is] committed to redoubling our efforts to attract an even more diverse construction workforce.”

 

Author:  Zachary Phillips, Construction Dive

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