The ongoing skilled labor shortage is one of the most severe problems facing the residential construction industry. That’s why the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) continues to focus efforts on building the skilled workforce of the future, including working to recruit more women to help fill that labor gap.
Recently, NAHB First Vice Chairman Alicia Huey testified before Congress, urging policymakers to pursue targeted strategies to help tackle the high cost of childcare and the availability of paid leave. These strategies, we believe, will help increase female participation in the workforce and could boost the number of women looking to join the construction trades.
Women make up just 11% of the construction workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most women in the industry remain involved in administrative positions, with a very small percentage in the skilled trades — where workers are needed most.
Making Women More Visible
Nicole Goolsby, a member of NAHB Remodelers and the PWB Council from Raleigh, N.C., recently said the number of women in the industry is changing, albeit marginally. But she notes that attitudes about women in the field are shifting for the better.
Making women more visible to the rest of the industry and other women is crucial to getting even more women to join our field, Goolsby says, and is a far cry from when she was the only woman on a job in the early stages of her career. Bringing more women into the field to address the labor shortage is vital to meeting our nation’s growing housing demand. NAHB will work with state and local HBA, our workforce development arm — the Home Builders Institute (HBI), and other career and technical institutions to expand upon successful workforce development programs.
First Vice Chairman Huey and I, along with the other NAHB senior officers, are encouraging Congress to pass the Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act, which would expand the Paid Family and Medical Leave tax credit to make it more generous for small businesses and more affordable for them to offer paid leave.
All our efforts are enhanced by NAHB’s Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council, which promotes and supports women in our industry through education and professional development. Every fall, the PWB Council hosts Professional Women in Building Week, an occasion set aside to celebrate the achievements of women in our field and the work being done to promote, train, and add more women to the industry.
I encourage each of you to join in the activities surrounding PWB Week, Sept. 12-16, 2022, and to help raise awareness of the opportunities for growth and success that pursuing a career in home building can provide. Let’s get the message out loud and clear: The housing industry offers strong earning potential, is a solid alternative to the four-year college track without the burden of student loans, and brings with it a sense of satisfaction that you are helping others fulfill the American Dream.
Follow along at nahb.org for more information about our workforce development efforts and PWB Week events.