By {{Article.AuthorName}} | {{Article.PublicationDate.slice(6, -2) | date:'EEEE, MMMM d, y'}}
{{TotalFavorites}} Favorite{{TotalFavorites>1? 's' : ''}}

It’s no secret that the number of women working in the construction industry is significantly lower than that of men—accounting for approximately 9.9% of the sector’s workforce in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What is the reason for such a small number? Are there barriers to entering the industry and, if so, what are they? Or is there a lack of education about the many opportunities to be found?

That’s where mentorship can bring value and insight to women who have an interest in building a career in construction. It can also help them overcome apprehensions about taking on roles traditionally filled by men—and enable them to prosper.

Why is mentorship important?

 Mentorship is about encouragement, advice and shared experience. For women wanting to enter the construction industry and those already in it, a mentor can be a true guiding force.

The construction industry isn’t only about working hands-on at a jobsite, although there are plenty of women who excel in the field and in other service positions. There are also careers in sales, management, marketing and other areas. Just like in any career, and just as it is for men, positions in construction may require women to start at an entry level and work their way up to positions of progressive responsibility.

Mentors can help navigate some of the steps along the way and support women’s career growth. A mentor can bring attention to new job openings in a company or provide introductions to colleagues, which can be instrumental in learning more about the business. Networking often goes hand-in-hand with mentorship to open up opportunities.

The goal is for the mentorship to be based on communication and trust—helping women see the value in themselves and driving them to achieve. In short, it’s about empowerment.

Sowing the seeds of that empowerment comes, in part, by having a mentor who is a leader. Someone who sets the course by example and can guide the mentee to become independent and self-sufficient. The idea is not for a mentor to manage, but rather for them to provide support as women take on new responsibilities. That allows women the chance to make a project and a position their own. Mentors can also be great sounding boards, listening and offering guidance about how to deal with a variety of situations, even difficult ones.

Mentors to women in the construction industry don’t always have to be other women. Men can, and often do, play an integral role in the mentorship relationship.

And it’s not just the mentee who benefits from the relationship. There is value to companies, too. Having women grow their careers in the construction industry adds to efforts to improve diversity and inclusion, aids in employee retention, and provides leadership experience for the mentor.

Creating the connection

Developing a relationship with a mentor can happen in any number of ways, but the important part is that it happens. In some cases, the mentor may be in the same organization and aligned with the same career path. Other times, it could be someone from outside that path who offers different insights and potential opportunities for career growth.

Women can look to associations and networking events for more opportunities to engage with one another. As more companies develop diversity and inclusion programs, the occasions for women to come together to share their experiences have become more frequent. Talking with supervisors or colleagues is also important to fostering relationships. Some social media channels, like LinkedIn and Facebook, have groups for women in construction to come together to discuss their roles in the industry and to seek out new information. Likewise, colleges and certification classes are good spaces for networking.

Any of these outlets can naturally lead to a mentor/mentee relationship.

Making it work

For women in the construction industry or those wanting to enter the field, the aim is no different than in any other position in any other industry. Women want to achieve success. A healthy mentorship can guide that success, helping women to grow, learn and thrive.

Of course, achieving those goals isn’t always going to be easy. It requires commitment, patience, and a lot of hard work. Most of all, it requires women to put themselves out there, to be willing to take calculated risks and to ask questions. Learning the ins and outs of the construction industry, the equipment and the technology builds credibility, just as with any job. With determination and the right mentorship support, women can set the course for building a fulfilling, long-term career in the construction industry.


 Comments ({{Comments.length}})

  • {{comment.Name}}


    {{comment.DateCreated.slice(6, -2) | date: 'MMM d, y h:mm:ss a'}}

Leave a comment

Required! Not valid email!