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Breaking Barriers: Encouraging Women in Construction and Technology

Woman in constructionIndustries like technology and construction are shaping the future of our world. However, these industries tend to be dominated by men. In 2022, only 25% of technical roles at some of the largest tech organizations were held by women. This percentage has grown by only one percent or less year-over-year. Similarly, in construction, women make up 10.9% of the workforce. These industries are slowly and steadily making progress to be more inclusive, and we’ve seen how successful it can be. Businesses are starting to understand how gender-diverse organizations can improve their bottom line. But if you’re starting and don’t know how to move forward, don’t worry; we’ve all been there! You need to start somewhere, and what’s most important is that by reading this blog, you’re making an active effort to change within your organization. So, where do we begin?

Representation matters

Have you ever walked into a room and realized no one else looked like you? How did you feel? Were you anxious? Worried you couldn’t relate to anyone within the room? Unfortunately, this is the case for many women in both construction and tech. Due to the lack of representation, it can be challenging for women to want to enter these industries. Organizations are trying to reduce the gender gap, but with a lack of females already in the industry, it can be discouraging to break into the field. 

The benefits of having a diverse workforce

Having women on your team is a competitive advantage, especially in the construction industry. From relationship building and negotiation to change management, women bring these skills to a job site which become critical for success. Furthermore, women in construction and technology roles tend to bring a more inclusive environment. Studies have found that a diverse workplace allows for more open communication, various perspectives, and better solutions. This leads to improved company performance driven by: 

  • innovation;
  • creativity;
  • better solutions to problems;
  • equality;
  • improved workplace culture;
  • increased employee satisfaction; and
  • higher productivity.

Woman codingWomen also represent half the consumer population, so their representation develops more balanced products and better user experiences.

How can organizations support

Organizations have a crucial role in promoting diversity, inclusiveness, and equity in their workplace. Leaders need to be accountable for improving their work environment, where everyone feels welcome, where they can belong, and ultimately thrive. Hiring and retaining more women in the workplace will hugely benefit a company’s workplace culture. 

So, how do we better recruit and retain women in both technology and construction workplaces?

Here are six initiatives that you can begin to implement in your organization:

  1. Expand your hiring pool and attract more diverse talent by promoting jobs on social media, online job boards, and partnering with associations and schools.
  2. Leverage LinkedIn and other social media networks to reach a more diverse audience and expand your talent pool. Personalized messages go a long way, showing candidates you’re taking an active interest in their careers.
  3. Be intentional with drafting requirements for your job postings, as the language in descriptions and postings may discourage women applicants. Here at Tread, we use this statement in our job descriptions: Research has concluded that men tend to apply to roles when they meet an average of 60% of the criteria, while women and other marginalized folks only apply when they check every box. Think you would make a good fit; apply anyways! We’d love to talk! 
  4. Encourage diversity in the hiring process by adding representation in interviews. Address unconscious bias in the workplace by fostering an environment of continuous learning and training interviewers/colleagues. 
  5. Provide flexible work arrangements and higher commitment to employee well-being.
  6. Offer development opportunities for all employees and accountability from the top down. Ensure that leadership in the organization mirrors the diversity that you are targeting in the broader team. 

Both the construction and technology industries continue to work towards breaking down barriers and hiring more women in these workplaces. While the improvements have dramatically increased in the last few years, the room for growth remains apparent. Women play a critical role in shaping the future of our workplaces and the world, and we must continue to make progress and strive for a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.

Interested in learning more about this topic? Join us at the Ontario, Sand, Stone & Gravel Association, where we will be moderating a panel on how construction companies can recruit women and the next generation of employees.

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