The workplace has been radically changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a critical gap that must be addressed during America’s comeback: the mass exodus of women from the American workforce. Five million women have lost or left their jobs in the past year. In December 2020 alone, the U.S. economy lost 140,000 jobs—all of them previously held by women.
A recent study shows working women are experiencing the worst effects of the recession because, one, the industries they tend to work in are harder hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and two, the shutdown of schools and day care have made it harder for parents, women especially, to keep working.
Even though the construction industry has already recovered three-quarters of the jobs lost during 2020, workforce shortages are a constant concern. The construction industry will require qualified talent to rebuild our economy and crumbling infrastructure. With vaccinations underway and increased optimism about the prospects for construction in 2021, there is no better time for women to consider construction as a long-term career choice. National construction employment was only 3 percent below its pre-pandemic peak in February 2020.
Construction offers many career opportunities in the office or on the jobsite with competitive salaries—especially compared to other industries. While women in the U.S. workforce earn an average of 81.1 percent of what their male counterparts make, the gender pay gap in the construction sector is almost nonexistent, with women earning an average of 99.1 percent compared to men. In Michigan, the annual salary for a construction Plumber is $62,530, and an electrician averages $62,480.
Women returning to the workforce will be vital in ensuring America’s comeback. At ABC Southeast Michigan, we are committed to recruiting and upskilling women so we can continue to develop a diverse and inclusive construction industry. To learn more about career opportunities in construction during 2021 Women in Construction Week, March 7-13, visit https://www.abcsemi.org.