Recruiting and Retaining Talented Women in Construction

While it may be a common belief that men are typically interested in the construction business, there has been a rise of women in construction positions. At Mikula Contracting, women contribute significantly to our team and we take proactive measures to find talented women to hire in our business.

It’s easy enough to make a goal to increase the number of women in construction. But what can we do to ensure that number increases? Action is more important than words. Let’s take a look at some measures that all construction businesses can take to make women feel more welcome in the construction industry. 

Current Situation of Women in Construction

Women make up 47% of the total workforce in America, but only 10% of the construction industry. The National Association of Women In Construction is organized to be a networking group for all women in construction and help them break into the male-dominated industry. 

Women do face obstacles when trying to work in construction. There are tangible reasons that deter women from applying for a construction job and certainly keep them from staying in a construction position. Some of these setbacks include: 

  • No Women Role Models: If you expect a slew of women applicants but don’t have any existing women in your company, you may have a tough start. Every company has to start somewhere, so it’s crucial to take responsibility for your past negligence in hiring women and spell out your future goals. 
  • Being Passed Up for Promotions: From a recent survey, 73% of women in construction feel that they have been passed up for promotions based on gender rather than their skill set. This shows that it is an industry problem that needs to show a change in order to expect more women to enter into construction careers.  
  • Gender Pay Gaps: If a company isn’t monitoring gender pay gaps, then there is a problem. Every construction business should measure each person’s pay regardless of gender and make sure that the numbers are fair. 
  • Feeling Left Out of Social Situations: 8 out of 10 women in construction feel left out of social conversations and events. A company needs to proactively work to plan events that are inclusive to all genders. 
  • Higher Risk of Injury Due to Poorly-Fitted Equipment: Women are at a higher risk of injury because the safety equipment isn’t fit for their bodies. The construction company has a huge responsibility to protect all of their employees by offering proper safety equipment catered to all body types. 

While the leadership of women in construction has been rising, the representation is still not substantial. 43% of companies do not even monitor gender pay gaps in their organizations. If they are not aware of what is happening, how will change come about? Our team at Mikula acknowledges how vital women are to the construction industry and are taking action to increase women in construction.  

How Mikula Recruits & Retains Top Women Talent

We have a goal to increase women working in construction. We can start by eliminating the obstacles that women face. When we work toward including women in project management and building up women in leadership positions, we produce role models for new women in construction.

We believe that we can increase the percentage of women in the construction industry one company at a time – starting with our company. Our family-owned company knows how valuable it is to have women involved in leadership decisions. Women have proven time after time to be valuable construction employees. “Kim Meano, our Office Manager/Project Coordinator, plays an essential role within our company’s leadership team.  Kim’ s extensive knowledge of the construction industry and our services not only provides value to our organization but to our clients as well in her role as Project Coordinator.  For many years, Kim continues to impress our clients with her vast knowledge, organization and outstanding client service.” – Dennis Mikula, Jr., Executive Vice President

Kim Meano took some time to share her thoughts on what makes Mikula a great place to work in this brief interview:

How many years (total) have you worked for Mikula Contracting?

Kim: I’ve worked for Mikula Contracting almost 18 years, taking 4 off in between to raise my daughter and returning to the office. 

Why did you join Mikula Contracting?

Kim: I was previously a restaurant manager. Mikula Contracting was an opportunity that was recommended to me since I was looking for more consistent working hours. Having grown up in Clifton, I was aware of how long they were in business. Coming from my previous career, this presented more stability. 

What is your primary role at Mikula Contracting?

Kim: Customer service is number one. As the Office Manager and Project Coordinator,  I gather project information, provide estimates, prepare permit applications, obtain utility mark outs, schedule projects and bill our clients. 

What keeps you interested in working at Mikula Contracting?

Kim: I’ve felt right at “home” from day one. They’re a very close family, and we’re like an extension of that family. In the office, we’re constantly evolving. Trying to keep up with the pace of increasing work. Being here as long as I have, seeing the increasing work is something all of us should be proud of. I think this speaks volumes for the company and all our employees. 

Our Recruiting Process

As we look to hire women in the industry, we have to adjust our process to make it clear that women employees are sought after in our company. A prospective female hire will see our company goals and culture and know that they will be safe and valued when choosing Mikula Contracting. Some of our recruiting strategies include: 

  • Women in the Hiring Process: If you have a networking event and have a woman there to represent your construction company, you can show that your company values women in construction. This is proof that there is action behind your promises when you have a woman involved in hiring other women in your construction business. 
  • Inclusive Job Postings: The wording in job postings can make a big difference on who responds. Be sure to seek out quality men or women and do not default to a male pronoun in your job description. 
  • Reaching Out to Women: Women are unlikely to apply for a construction position, feeling under-qualified or unsure of breaking into the male-dominated industry. When you reach out to women and ask them to apply, it will arm them with the confidence that your company will have their back. 
  • Networking Opportunities: Offer a variety of networking opportunities for women to come into your office and take an interest in your company. You can start young with a bring-your-daughter-to-work day. Or you can offer open invitations for “coffee with managers” where anyone can come and ask questions and get to know the leadership of your company. 
  • Create Diverse Teams: The most valuable teams are made up of people from diverse backgrounds and personalities. When you have a team of multiple genders, races, and socio-economic backgrounds, you can glean all perspectives in order to understand your demographics better. 
  • Resist Stereotypes: Create a workplace culture where negative stereotypes are not tolerated. Build team relationships where you know they will stick up for each other if a client or co-worker says something offensive. 

When women feel valued in the hiring process, they will feel safer as they move forward with your company. Clearly communicating your goals for hiring more women in construction will gravitate more quality applicants toward your business. 

How to Encourage Women to Pursue Careers in Construction

As time goes on and the construction industry moves toward male and female contracting teams, more women will be willing to have career paths in construction. All of the obstacles that we mentioned above have remedies if they are closely monitored in a company. 

Change the Perspective    

You can welcome more female workers when you show them that they aren’t taking a risk to be constantly passed over in your company. Monitor your gender pay gaps, alternate between genders when promoting project managers, and provide the appropriate safety equipment for both genders. Be transparent about your goals and monitoring in these categories. 

If your company has grown to be male-dominated and, in turn, disrespectful to outsiders over the years, then do something to make a change. You can change company culture by setting expectations and cracking down on disrespectful behavior. It is never too late to create a safe company atmosphere. 

Learn to Embrace Diversity and Equality

One of the reasons that Mikula Contracting was named New Jersey Family Business of the Year is because of our inclusivity and innovation. When we spot a hole in our business, we do what it takes by encouraging more women in construction to contribute to our company’s evolution.  

Equality and diversity only improve your company as multiple perspectives go into the decision-making processes. If you have a company with a one-track mind, you will never learn how to reach various customer bases and grow your business.  

Inclusive Job Descriptions

Those looking at a career in construction can tell what types of companies embrace diversity and equality through their job description. Ensure your company makes your values clear in posting an inclusive job description that steers away from gender-specific pronouns and masculine adjectives. 

You can explicitly state in a job description that women applicants are welcome! This will set you apart from other construction job postings and help you find valuable female applicants looking to work in the construction industry. 

Mentorship Programs  

Offering mentorship opportunities with other women in construction will increase the number of women interested. Whether they find a networking group in The National Association of Women in Construction or join a mentorship program through college, women’s representation is vital. 

Learning directly from a woman in the industry is important because women can build relationships with someone to ask genuine questions. It’s rare to ask about discrimination or pay gap experiences in a quick interview without getting short answers. When a connection is developed, women can ask the heavy questions that are weighing on their minds. 

Mikula Welcomes you to Apply Today!

Our construction company has built an excellent reputation in the community throughout the years. We offer excavation and demolition services for both residential and commercial properties. It is vital to partner with a company that is trustworthy and hard-working. 

Mikula Contracting is a great family business that is ready to expand and grow in all ways. We are committed to supporting women in construction and evolving our team to reflect that. If you are interested in joining an inclusive and welcoming team, apply with us today! You can always contact us and let us know of your interest before applying. 

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