Members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) have called for an increase in recruiting efforts to attract women to the homebuilding industry as the residential construction industry continues to grapple with a severe labor shortage.
The call was made in recognition of Professional Women in Building (PWB) Week. PWB members said bringing more women into the construction labor force represents a potential opportunity for the future.
“Right now more than ever is the time for our industry to not only increase our recruitment efforts, but to also change the way we talk about careers in homebuilding to show women this industry has so much to offer them,” said Judy Dinelle, chair of the NAHB PWB Council. “We need to help the public, guidance counselors, and parents understand that the industry provides a high income, significant work values, job security, and a sense of accomplishment.”
To introduce more women to the industry, PWB members are looking into creating more pre-apprenticeship programs throughout the country and developing leadership paths within their organizations.
“We’ve seen examples of pre-apprenticeship programs that are really quite successful, so we need to replicate those programs and implement them into more communities across the country,” Dinelle said. “We should all promote and offer to help the programs and organizations that provide training for women. It’s our responsibility to put our words into action.”
Women currently make up 9% of the construction industry, despite accounting for almost half (47%) of the total working population, according to data analyzed by NAHB. Female construction employment slowly picked up to around 970,000 in 2017 after the Great Recession, but it remains below the pre-recession level of 1.1 million in 2007.