Construction has long been a male-dominated field. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 13 percent of payroll employees in the construction industry are women—a number that has remained relatively stagnant since the 1990s. When also taking into account self-employed workers, the proportion is even lower, at just 10.3 percent. Despite the gender gap in employment, some job functions and locations offer better opportunities for women seeking a career in the construction industry.
Nationwide, there are over 1.1 million women working in construction, compared to 9.9 million men. In addition to differences in total employment, men and women tend to fill different occupations within the industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women who work in construction are most likely to work in office or administrative positions. By contrast, men have a much higher representation in roles related to finance, transportation, construction, extraction, and maintenance.
A major benefit for women in the construction industry is that they tend to command higher wages than female workers in other fields. The median full-time wage for women in construction is $46,808 per year, compared to $43,394 for female workers across all industries. Interestingly, the opposite is true for men in construction, who generally earn less than the typical male worker. In addition, men and women in the construction industry report relatively equal pay. While the national gender pay gap across all industries is 19 percent, the gender pay gap in construction is only 3.7 percent.
Although only 10.3 percent of workers in the construction industry are women, some parts of the country have much stronger female representation. To find which cities have the most women in construction, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed employment data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. Researchers ranked cities based on the female employment share in the construction industry. In the final rankings, cities were categorized by population size: small (100,000–149,999), midsize (150,000–349,999), and large (350,000 or more).
Most of the cities on the list are concentrated in the South or the West, with some representation in the Midwest and little in the Northeast.
Here are the cities with the most women in construction.
|City||Rank||Female employment share in the construction industry||Total female employment in the construction industry||Total male employment in the construction industry||Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry|
|San Francisco, CA||3||17.0%||2,985||14,590||$70,711|
|Virginia Beach, VA||5||15.5%||2,187||11,891||$52,325|
|Colorado Springs, CO||6||15.4%||2,743||15,037||$55,363|
|El Paso, TX||8||14.1%||2,968||18,044||$35,710|
|San Diego, CA||11||13.3%||4,270||27,919||$53,990|
|Kansas City, MO||13||13.1%||1,760||11,630||$41,742|
|New Orleans, LA||17||11.9%||1,143||8,433||$37,300|
For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website: https://constructioncoverage.