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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Galland

Construction Workforce Shortage + Women = Opportunity

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Trade shortages have plagued the construction industry for many years. The lack of skilled partners has led to increased build cycles (aka increased time to build a home) and price increases. This impact on both the consumer and the builder is significant.


PWB Build Up and Fortify
Three women from the Adair Homes team at a Professional Women in Building educational event.

Despite the pandemic and the ongoing workforce issues, new-home sales in 2020 were among the highest since 2007. The demand doesn't appear to be decreasing. Analysts are predicting a continual rise in new construction home sales in 2021.


Another issue that has been around for far too long is the gender pay gap. According to Business.org, "Women in the US workforce are making roughly $0.80 for every dollar earned by their male colleagues." The gap is closing, but the difference is still there.


This Creates Opportunity for Women & Builders


Women make up nearly half of the total labor force. In contrast, less than 10% of U.S. construction workers are female. As an industry, we can do better. According to Insider, the only fields with a lower percentage are aerospace engineers, firefighters, and aircraft pilots.


Avaly Scarpelli, executive director for the Building Industry Association, was recently quoted saying:


“As the home building industry continues to struggle with a labor shortage, 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 home building to show women this industry has so much to offer them.”

It's clear that women could make a big difference regarding the current trade issues. What is the benefit to women? Why make a change and enter into the male-dominated world of construction?


Top 3 Reasons Why Women Should Work in Construction


1. Increased Income Potential

Women who work construction and trade careers earn an average of 30% more than their peers.

2. Increasing Opportunities

The need for construction workers is expected to climb over the next five years.

3. Building Something

Being able to build something from the ground up is extremely rewarding. Working in construction often sparks a one of a kind passion. Who doesn't want that?


Breaking into a new industry is rarely easy. Melissa Hefner, construction superintendent for Adair Homes, says she is grateful she could transition from a sales role where she was designing homes to now actually building houses. Her advice for women who want to work in construction: don't give up.


Watch the video to learn a little more.


What Skills Are Required to Land a Job in Construction

Reviewing a variety of entry-level construction opportunities, proven ability in the following areas are amongst the most highly sought-after:

  • Tech Savvy

  • Top-notch Communicator

  • Organizational & Planning Pro

  • Team Player Mentality

  • Independent Problem Solver

  • Budget Manager

  • Commitment to Quality

Some positions will also require a basic understanding of building materials, construction methodology, and the ability to read and understand plans. There are a variety of apprenticeship and training programs out there ranging from free to less than $400. One school that the Portland HBA is affiliated with is the NW College of Construction.


Everyone considers skills and qualifications when considering a new line of work. Apparently, there is a gap in how each gender determine what job to apply for. According to a Forbes article, “Men are confident about their ability at 60%, but women don’t feel confident until they’ve checked off each item on the list.”

Let that sink in for a moment ladies.

Not sure where to start? Here is a list of current opportunities to join the Adair Homes team.


Anyone who is interested in seeing an expanded female presence of women in construction should consider joining the NAHB Professional Women in Building Council (PWB). PWB is dedicated to helping members acquire and develop invaluable skills that boost career success in building. All genders are encouraged to find their local chapter of the PWB and join. (Disclaimer, there is a contest to grow membership. Feel free to name drop!)

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