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As companies have pivoted over the last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction remains a largely untapped well of opportunity, especially for women. For many women, the path into the construction industry is unique. Whether you went to school for construction management or engineering or not, there are opportunities to work in multiple departments and learn different facets of the business—everything from engineering, project management and IT to innovation, procurement, business development and more.

Each year more women join the industry, yet women still only comprise 10.3% of the workforce. It’s important to celebrate the growing number of women in the field and raise awareness for opportunities in the industry. Here are a few key reasons why young women should consider a career in construction.

Construction is about creation

No matter what city you are in, one of the first things you notice is the built environment. What does the skyline look like? Do the building designs reflect modern or historic architecture? Our buildings help to define cities across the globe. There are not many careers where a person can say he or she played a role in bringing the community to life. Whether building an iconic bridge that increases access to transportation and reduces commute times, or an office built from sustainable materials intended to promote a healthy built environment for employees, projects can live on for future generations to benefit from. In construction, employees can be part of something special.

Women have a voice

While young women are coming into the industry as a minority, they offer a unique voice that makes people want to listen. The industry has stepped up to provide out-of-the-box solutions for clients. The industry is always on the lookout for innovative and creative ideas, solutions and diversity of thought as it evolves to meet the changing needs of clients. Diversity drives innovation and having more young women and people of color pursuing careers in construction is how the industry will move forward.

Construction Workers can make a difference

There is a high level of sustainability and social responsibility involved in building and construction. We have the unique opportunity to transform industry tools and strategies to adopt environmentally conscious practices in the fight against climate change. There are opportunities to study and implement green building practices and technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of the built world. Additionally, employees can see firsthand how projects impact the surrounding community.

In addition to local job creation, projects such as a new outpatient center located closer to residential areas can encourage people to make more routine visits and stay on top of their health. Or, a new community college campus can provide more opportunities for students to pursue their education close to home.

The industry also plays a role in attracting and advancing more women. Partnerships with local K-12 schools and organizations like the Girls Scouts can go a long way in engaging and including more young women early on. For instance, organizing field trips that offer a behind-the-scenes look at construction projects can show the wide-range of opportunities in the field, or offering collaborative activities around design and sustainability offer different perspectives of the industry. Young women may not even realize there are opportunities to make a tangible difference in their communities and around the world. Whether they love their local library, museum or park, someone had to build all of those facilities for people to enjoy, and they can be a part of it.

At the college and professional levels, representation is key. Having more women attend recruiting events for aspiring builders can help to attract more young women to the industry and build a more diverse workforce for a company. Inviting more women to speak on panels and participate in community events is critical to empowering female voices, offering diverse viewpoints and continuing to build a bridge to the industry that welcomes women.

When people think of construction, cranes, skyscrapers and roadwork typically come to mind. There is so much more that makes construction a fun and fascinating industry in which everyone can work. Through awareness and more partnership opportunities, contractors can connect with women of every age to bring them on board and provide a fulfilling career in construction.

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