Lumber Toolkit
March 20, 2024
min read

Strategies to Close the Gender Pay Gap in the Construction Industry

March 20, 2024
min read
Women in Construction

Inside the Blog

Experience the future of construction workforce management with Lumber.
Talk to our expert

The gender pay gap in the construction industry is an issue that not only affects women's earning potential but also reflects wider inequities within the sector. Despite progress in gender equality, the construction industry still shows a significant salary disparity between men and women. Addressing this gap requires comprehensive strategies that involve industry-wide commitment and policy changes. This blog explores actionable solutions to foster equitable pay practices and ensure that women in construction are compensated fairly for their skills and labor.

Understanding the Gender Pay Gap in the Construction Industry

The gender pay gap in the construction industry represents a significant issue, reflecting broader societal disparities in pay equity between genders.

According to a recent survey report - She Builds Nation, 49% of respondents felt they were not paid on par with a man doing the same job.

It's widely acknowledged that women, on average, earn less than men across various sectors, but the gap is especially pronounced in construction—a field traditionally dominated by men. This disparity is not solely a product of direct discrimination; it's also influenced by factors such as unequal access to high-paying roles, differences in years of experience, and societal norms that steer women away from pursuing careers in construction. Understanding the multifaceted nature of this issue is crucial for devising effective strategies to bridge the pay gap.

Pay Gap of Women in Construction

The gender pay gap in the construction industry is more than just a numerical difference. It's a reflection of the pervasive inequalities that women face, from entry-level positions to top executive roles. Statistics show that women in construction earn significantly less than their male counterparts, with the gap widening further in senior positions and specialized trades. Several factors contribute to this disparity, including:

  • Underrepresentation: Women are significantly underrepresented in construction, especially in higher-paying, skilled trades positions. This underrepresentation limits their overall earning potential.
  • Career Advancement Barriers: The path to higher-paying roles and leadership positions is often fraught with cultural and structural barriers, hindering women's career advancement within the industry.
  • Part-time Work: Women are more likely to work part-time, often due to caregiving responsibilities, leading to lower overall earnings compared to full-time counterparts.

Addressing these factors requires a concerted effort from industry stakeholders, including policymakers, construction companies, and educational institutions, to create a more inclusive and equitable working environment. By fostering gender diversity and ensuring equal opportunities for advancement and professional development, the construction industry can begin to close the gender pay gap, benefiting not just women, but the industry as a whole by tapping into a wider pool of talent and perspectives.

Root Causes of Pay Gap for Women in Construction

The gender pay gap in the construction industry, as in many other fields, is a multifaceted problem rooted in historical, cultural, and organizational factors. One significant cause is the underrepresentation of women in construction roles, particularly in higher-paying, senior-level positions. This scarcity is partly due to long-standing gender stereotypes that label construction work as "men's work," discouraging women from pursuing careers in this field.

Another contributing factor is the lack of awareness about support and resources for women who enter the industry. There are organizations like Nationa Women in Construction that offers mentorship and training programs and other such organizations that very active in the online space. But on the ground, the woman in the site are unaware of the support that they can tap into.

Additionally, there is often a lack of transparency in pay structures within companies, making it difficult to address discrepancies and ensure fairness in compensation.

According to She Builds Nation report, another root cause is also the fact that women often don't assert themselves to get a good pay. Gloria Marie Fuentes, a woman construction owner, adds further insight, highlighting the role of assertiveness in negotiating salaries: "Overall, I think women are paid less than men, simply because they don't like to speak up in those situations. A man will go in and say, 'This is what I want to get paid,' and be very firm about it. Whereas a woman would tiptoe a lot with the job description and overanalyze things. My suggestion to women would be to be assertive."  

Bridging the Pay Gap of Women in Construction

Several actionable strategies can be implemented to address the gender pay gap in the construction industry.

Promoting Gender Diversity and Inclusion

Creating an inclusive workplace culture that values diversity can help attract more women to the construction industry and retain them. This can be achieved through:

  • Implementing diversity and inclusion training for all employees
  • Establishing support networks and mentorship programs for women
  • Actively recruiting women and providing career development opportunities

Enhancing Transparency and Equity in Pay

Ensuring fair compensation practices is crucial in bridging the pay gap. Strategies include:

  • Conducting regular salary audits to identify and address disparities
  • Adopting transparent pay scales and promotion criteria
  • Offering equal pay for equal work and ensuring that compensation is based on skills, experience, and job performance, rather than gender

By tackling the root causes and adopting these strategies, the construction industry can make significant strides toward closing the gender pay gap and creating a more equitable and inclusive work environment for all.

Breaking Barriers: Empowering Women in Construction

The construction industry has historically been male-dominated, but breaking this tradition is key to closing the gender pay gap. Empowering women within this sector enriches the industry with diverse perspectives and paves the way for equitable pay practices.

Promoting gender diversity in leadership roles

One of the most effective strategies for empowering women is to promote gender diversity in leadership roles. This involves actively recruiting, supporting, and mentoring women to take on higher positions within construction companies. By doing so, women can influence policies and practices, including those related to pay, ensuring a more inclusive work environment. Furthermore, having female role models in leadership positions can inspire other women to aspire for similar roles, creating a virtuous cycle of empowerment and gender balance.

Encouraging young women to pursue careers in construction

The foundation for a more gender-balanced industry lies in encouraging young women to pursue careers in construction. This can be achieved through targeted outreach programs in schools and communities, showcasing the diverse range of opportunities within the industry. Scholarships, internships, and mentorship programs specifically designed for young women can also remove barriers to entry, helping to cultivate a new generation of female construction professionals.

Implementing Equal Pay Policies

Addressing the gender pay gap requires not only empowering women but also implementing specific policies that ensure equal pay for equal work.

Importance of transparent salary structures

Transparent salary structures are fundamental to achieving equal pay. By openly sharing salary ranges for all positions, companies can demonstrate their commitment to fairness, making it easier for employees to understand and trust the compensation process. This openness also helps to eliminate ambiguity, ensuring that pay is based solely on experience, skills, and performance rather than gender.

Addressing unconscious bias in compensation decisions

Unconscious bias in compensation decisions is a significant contributor to the gender pay gap. Training programs designed to identify and mitigate these biases can be instrumental in promoting gender-neutral salary determinations. Additionally, involving multiple decision-makers in compensation discussions can provide varied perspectives, reducing the likelihood of biased decisions.

Regular pay audits to ensure parity

Regular pay audits are a critical tool for maintaining pay equity. These audits involve systematically reviewing and comparing the compensation of men and women performing the same or similar roles. Any identified discrepancies can then be addressed promptly, ensuring ongoing adherence to equal pay principles. This proactive approach not only helps maintain fair compensation practices but also signals to employees that the company is serious about combating the gender pay gap.

Mentorship and Skill Development Programs

Mentorship and skill development are pivotal in empowering women in the construction industry and bridging the gender pay gap. By focusing on these areas, companies can create a supportive environment that promotes career growth and fair compensation for women.

Creating mentorship opportunities for women in construction

Mentorship programs can play a significant role in supporting women's career advancement in construction. These programs pair experienced professionals with newcomers or those seeking to advance their careers, offering guidance, advice, and support. By promoting mentorship opportunities specifically for women, companies help develop a skilled workforce and ensure that women are prepared for leadership roles, contributing to reducing the gender pay gap.

Providing training programs to bridge skill gaps

Skill development is another crucial aspect of minimizing salary disparities. Training programs designed to bridge the gap in skills can enable women to compete for higher-paying jobs traditionally dominated by men. Offering workshops, certifications, and continuing education opportunities in areas like project management, advanced construction techniques, and technology integration can empower women with the necessary tools to excel and secure equitable pay.

Advocacy and Industry Support

Closing the gender pay gap in the construction industry requires concerted efforts, including advocacy and policy, and industry-wide support. By collaborating with various stakeholders, real and lasting change can be achieved.

Partnering with organizations advocating for equal pay

Companies can strengthen their commitment to closing the gender pay gap by partnering with organizations that focus on advocating for equal pay and women's rights in the workforce. These partnerships can provide valuable resources, support networks, and platforms for raising awareness about the importance of equitable pay in construction. They also demonstrate a company's dedication to fostering an inclusive and fair work environment.

Lobbying for policy changes to close the gender pay gap in construction

Lobbying for policy changes is another critical strategy for advocating for equal pay. Companies and industry leaders can work together to influence legislation and regulatory standards that promote fair wages and eliminate salary disparities. This could involve advocating for transparency in pay scales, enforcing equal pay for equal work laws, and pushing for policies that support work-life balance, thus making the industry more attractive to women and supporting their progression to higher-paying roles.

Moving Forward Toward Pay Equity in Construction

Achieving gender pay equity in the construction industry requires concerted efforts from individuals, companies, and policymakers alike. By implementing strategies such as transparent pay practices, promoting women into leadership roles, and investing in gender-specific training and mentoring programs, the construction sector can begin to close the gender pay gap. The industry needs to acknowledge the disparities and take decisive steps toward fostering an inclusive and equitable working environment for all.

Take action to bridge the gender pay gap in construction today with Lumber!

Make a difference in the construction industry by challenging the status quo and advocating for equal pay. Join us at Lumber in our mission to empower women and promote pay equity across the board. Click below to learn how you can contribute to closing the gender pay gap and help create a better, more inclusive future in construction.

Take action to bridge the gender pay gap in construction today with Lumbe
Download Report
class SampleComponent extends React.Component { 
  // using the experimental public class field syntax below. We can also attach  
  // the contextType to the current class 
  static contextType = ColorContext; 
  render() { 
    return <Button color={this.color} /> 

Get started with Lumber

Ready to 10x your workforce productivity?
Schedule a demo

Ready to unlock productivity?

Call our Lumber expert today!
Talk to us