Since it is National #EqualPayDay what a better time to shed some light on the wage gap within the building industry, especially in construction. According to the Census Bureau, women make an average of about 79% to the dollar when compared to men.
This gap is especially apparent in industries that are male-concentrated. Although we are seeing a lot of women entering into positions that were once completely male-dominated, there is still a significant wage gap that should be addressed.
A 2017 study performed by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found a considerable wage gap in occupations commonly held by men. Among many career options, including software development, truck drivers, and construction laborers, they found a significant difference in wages amongst men and women.
The study found that women in construction earn about 95.2% to the dollar when compared with their male counterparts. Check out the chart below!
Women’s median weekly earnings
Women’s earnings as a % of men’s
Men’s median weekly earnings
Share of female workers in occupation (%)
Share of male workers in occupation as % of all male workers
Share of female workers in occupation as %of all female workers
All Full Time Workers
16 Most Common Occupations for Men
Customer Service Workers
Elementary/Middle school Teachers
Construction laborers can earn different wages based on their skill set and seniority. Wages can also depend on location and level of experience (from apprentice to journeyman, to master). Earnings can also be determined by the industry.
Heavy commercial contractors may make more money than residential contractors because of the volume of the project. This means that a man in California may get paid more money than a woman in Virginia just because he’s been working as a master electrician for 12 years.
It is evident that many women are not holding some of the higher paying positions that men do. There is a significant discrepancy in construction jobs held by women. Some positions that require a certain skill set, such as welding and electrical engineering are not as evenly spread out as other positions, like heavy equipment operating.
It may also be true that people have a prejudiced perception over the expertise and quality of work of women in this industry. Perhaps people just don’t place the same value on women as they would a man in the industry.
Women continue to break boundaries, tear down obstacles, and face down challenges as they make a name for themselves in STEM fields. Check out our list of some of the world’s most acclaimed female engineers.
It's International Women's Day! Today, we're extending our gratitude to some female innovators.
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