Women have long been in the minority when it comes to working in construction. According to the National Women’s Law Center, women only make up 2.6% of construction occupations, while they make up 47% of the entire workforce. As the construction industry struggles with an already dire labor shortage, how do we recruit more women to work in new construction? One of the groups hoping to make a difference is Women in New Construction (WINC). WINC’s goal is to support the advancement of women in the construction industry.
WINC holds monthly events to encourage strong mutual support networks among members and offer mentoring opportunities for women to share strengths, talents and experience. Masha Romer, WINC’s co-founder along with Leah Krig, shared more on the growth of the group, how they are building up women in the construction industry and why it’s important that we steer women toward construction careers.
Why is it important women have a support group in new construction?
One of the most beautiful aspects of the construction industry is how tight-knit it is. It is so easy to build friendships within the industry and create a support network for yourself and your business. Having a group exclusive to women allows those friendships to grow even deeper. It is a place where women can feel safe being themselves, sharing personal information, relating to each other, and bonding over common interests, goals and experiences. Building these deeper business relationships that turn into friendships leads to better job satisfaction and career growth. The construction industry thrives on relationship building.
How do we steer more women into jobs in new construction?
Young women need to be educated on the vast number of opportunities within the construction industry. There are so many high-paying and incredibly gratifying positions available, and I am seeing more and more women and diversity in the industry in general, which makes it even more inviting. Young women also need to be educated on how incredibly rewarding it is to build and design homes for families. I think a lot of women don’t initially see it this way. But when you are building something that becomes the center of a family’s life, that holds so many dreams and memories for children, it dawns on you how important this industry is.
How has WINC grown over the last few months?
WINC now has over 300 members. Our events max out every month to the point where we need to create waiting lists. Industry businesses are constantly signing up to host and we are so incredibly grateful to them. We feel that we can honestly say we are bringing value to both the businesses that host and to the women that attend. We can see business relationships and friendships forming at our monthly events.
What do you think are some of the misconceptions about women working in the construction industry?
Either that women don’t know anything about construction or that they have to know everything about construction. As a former sales rep. for a building product manufacturing company, I definitely did not know, nor did I have to know everything about construction. But I knew everything about my product. There were times I would be working a trade show and someone would come up to me, then turn and speak with my male coworker. That was annoying. There are also so many women that do know all the ins and outs of construction and they own their own building companies. What I’m trying to say is young women shouldn’t be intimidated, you can start from nothing and learn everything you need to know. At the same time, please do not discount our knowledge, experience or professionalism because we are women.
WINC is run by a committee of six members.
Leah Krig – Northland Woodworks – Owner and Cabinet Designer – 612-382-1874 firstname.lastname@example.org WINC Founder
Megan Schwartz – Zehnder Homes, Inc 763-226-7475 – email@example.com WINC Committee Member
Janelle Mattson – New Construction Design & Real Estate – 612-387-8885 – Janelle@Foxhomes.com – Committee Member
Alana Wynne – Ferguson Enterprise – Outside Sales – 612-212-7911 – alana.wynne@Ferguson.com Plumbing/Lighting/Fireplaces/Appliances – Committee Member
Connie Demars – Daltile – Stone Center Manager | Minneapolis – 612-490-5270 – Connie.DeMars@daltile.com – Offering Natural Stone Slabs: Granite, Quartzite & Marble Daltile ONE Quartz slabs – Panoramic Porcelain slabs