In honor of Mother’s Day, I decided to give this month’s blog post a bit of a twist. Instead of focusing on the economy and what is happening in the construction market, I want to talk a little bit about what it’s like to be a mother in the building materials industry.
In any industry, for both men and women, it is always a challenge balancing work and home life. I’m not entirely new to being a mom (my son is almost two years old), but I’m still figuring out the best balance.
I believe one of the most important factors in being able to strike a good work-life balance is having a supportive employer. Of course it's not all on them, you have to show your value to the company.
I started working with Oldcastle in 2007 and throughout the years have grown my career with them. By the time I got married and decided to have kids, I already had a reputation in the company for being a hard worker and dedicated employee. I believe having this history with the company made it easier to take leave when my son was born.
In the construction industry there are thousands of dads who understand what it’s like to raise a family. Like women, these men are also struggling to find work-life balance and respect that women might need some flexibility as well. Despite their own struggles to find work-life balance, it's still a challenge to find additional support when it's needed in certain phases of life, like childbirth.
What makes this harder for women in construction is that there are so few of us in this industry. As the JCHS noted on their “Improving America’s Housing 2015” report, women only make up 2.5% of the construction labor force, a stark contrast with the rest of the labor force where 47.3% are women.
Being greatly under-represented in this field makes it hard to find female role models to help guide women in their careers in construction. Being the majority of the labor force, men need to take a leadership role and help women develop and grow in the firms. There are plenty of studies that show how a diverse workforce brings about new perspectives and help companies be more innovative.
Finally, I’d like to name a few great resources and associations, women can count on in our field, including:
- National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)
- National Association of Professional Women in Construction (PWC)
- ENR’s annual conference — Groundbreaking Women in Construction annual conference -Groundbreaking Women in Construction, coming up this June.
We need to keep fostering gender diversity in construction so we can become an attractive field for everyone. To learn more about hiring and growing your company in this changing industry, read our Millennial Hiring Guide today.