By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.
The number of women working in the trades in 2018 was the highest in 20 years, according to ForConstructionPros.com, yet women still only represented 3.4% of the total number of workers. Construction jobs are dominated by male workers and women have traditionally avoided entering the field probably in large part because of the stereotypes and harassment associated with these environments.
There is a shift happening to encourage more youth to consider careers in the trades and there are programs specifically targeting girls. There are summer camps such as Girls Build that allow girls to spend a week attending workshops to learn building and construction skills. These are great programs that we should see benefits from in the years to come with more women hopefully interested in construction.
Organizations such as National Women in Roofing (NWIR) are focusing on recruiting women into the roofing industry as well. They also provide mentoring, education and networking opportunities for women in the industry.
Here are some tips that should help you focus on recruiting women into your roofing business:
Diversity training. Before you make an active effort to recruit women into your organization, it’s important to look inside, at your culture. What is the environment like? Diversity training strives to reduce prejudice and discrimination and encourage individuals who are different, to work together successfully.
Stress the benefits. Careers in roofing don’t always require a college degree and the gender wage gap is much smaller in the construction industry. Overall, women are only earning 81 cents for every dollar a man earns, but in construction that number jumps to 94 cents. The roofing industry offers great job security, paid vacations, health insurance benefits, retirement plans and delivers the satisfaction of providing a service that protects the homes and buildings in the community.
Have a strong onboarding and training program. Show women that your company provides a path for success, with training and support needed to learn new skills. Mentors are important as well. If you currently have women working in your company, consider pairing a female new hire with the more experienced employee until they are comfortable in their ability to do the job successfully.
Highlight technology. Roofing is physical work, but there are technologies coming into play that make it a little easier. We are seeing robotic welders on the rooftop and automated machinery like the Mini Macaden for installing modified bitumen easier and with fewer workers. Remote measuring and inspection services provide details on the roof without having to leave the ground. Educating potential female employees about these technologies can ease concerns they may have about their ability to perform the work.
Show them a career path. Offer opportunities for continuing education that can lead to advancement within your company. Commit to providing opportunities for employees to achieve certifications such as those offered through the National Roofing Contractors Association’s ProCertification™ program.
According to The Modern Recruiter, women “seek employers that treat them fairly and provide them with the choice, the flexibility, and the financial means to fashion their own lives as they see fit.” Keep these points in mind as you develop your strategy for recruiting more women into your business.
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