A little less than 11% of construction workers are women, despite the fact that they account for almost half of the labor pool. At the same time, the industry is in the midst of a serious labor shortage that doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. Not only does the AEC industry need to fill roles that are currently open, but it also needs to build a pipeline of new talent to replace retiring workers.


Expanding the labor pool to include more women is a no-brainer. Through diversity and inclusion initiatives and mentorship programs, the industry is making significant progress in encouraging more women to work in construction. AEC firms can bolster these efforts by demonstrating how the nature of construction work is evolving.


Making Construction Work More Attractive to Women

While female role models, mentorship programs, and apprenticeships all expand awareness of construction among women, many stereotypes about the work itself still remain. And these stereotypes conflict directly with many of the characteristics women value in the workplace.


Despite the gains that women have made in the workplace, the pandemic revealed that many are still shouldering most of the child care burden at home. More than 3.5 million women with school-age children left the workforce during the pandemic. Flexibility is essential to getting them to return.

One of the top three ways companies can better support women is by offering flexibility that doesn’t hinder career growth.

–– Deloitte, Women @ Work

Construction work can come with long, unpredictable hours. And as the workforce as a whole seeks greater workplace flexibility, firms that embrace tools and processes to support that flexibility will gain an edge.


The physical nature of construction makes it one of the most dangerous sectors to work in, and women are particularly vulnerable. Most personal protective equipment and clothing aren’t made to fit women, and finding proper alternatives is a common challenge. While industry organizations continue to raise awareness of this issue, it’s also important to consider ways to prevent exposure to risks in the first place.

Growth Opportunities

According to the Deloitte survey, women said that providing learning development and stretch assignments was the number one thing employers could do to support female workers. They want to be challenged at work, and they want exposure to the skills, technologies, and co-workers that will help them remain relevant as the nature of work evolves.


Technology Is Changing the Nature of Construction Work

Technology, which has been widely touted for its potential to draw in tech-savvy, young candidates, can also enhance the appeal of construction work for women. Construction has a reputation for relying on traditional, manual processes that don’t always support the flexibility, safety, and growth opportunities women want. But new technologies are changing that.

For example, using a cloud-based common data environment (CDE) improves flexibility by allowing teams to access data from anywhere. Using a feature-rich system like Trimble Connect, which can be used for model viewing and assigning and tracking tasks, allows for even greater flexibility. Teams can collaborate and problem-solve from anywhere, all while streamlining document management, version control, and communications into a single system.

Technologies are also significantly reducing common job site hazards. Automation technology, such as robotics, can be used into areas that would be unsafe for people. And 3D laser scanners like the Trimble X7 can scan a job site more quickly, and with fewer workers, than traditional methods, limiting exposure to potentially dangerous conditions. The scanners can also be used to identify hazards on an unfamiliar job site.

Expanding your workers’ technological capabilities can also help expand their skill set, providing the learning development and stretch assignments that women want. Being able to use augmented reality (AR) technologies like Trimble SiteVision on the job site allows workers to combine data from multiple sources into a single model and visualize it using a handheld device. With that visualization, non-design professionals can gain a deeper understanding of 3D models and GPS data that enables them to communicate more effectively with architects and site crews, and allows them to contribute to problem-solving.

Expand Your Talent Pool

Although construction has historically been a male-dominated industry, the disruption of the pandemic and the new opportunities afforded by technology can represent a turning point. By making the industry more attractive to women, construction firms can also broaden the overall diversity of the talent pool. And with infrastructure investment ramping up, that’s what’s needed to overcome the labor shortage and meet demand.

To learn more about the benefits of expanding your talent pool, how to connect with diverse workers, and the role that technology can play, watch the Trimble Dimensions series on Building the Workforce of the Future.