Tradeswomen Trailblazers – How Far They Have Come 

women in construction

In recent decades, a notable shift has occurred in the traditionally male-dominated arena of trades, with a gradual but significant increase in the participation of women. This trend is a testament to the evolving landscape of attitudes, legislation, and educational opportunities surrounding gender equality and workforce diversity.  

According to data from the Women’s Institute of Policy Research, the number of women in trades surged from 240,930 to 353,954 between 2017 and 2022, marking a remarkable 47% increase. However, despite this progress, women still represent a mere 4.3% of the total positions of workers who use tools, underscoring the persisting gender gap in this sector. Moreover, while the construction workforce overall is estimated to include around 9% to 10% women, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is important to acknowledge that this percentage varies significantly across specific occupations, roles, and geographical regions within the construction industry.  

For Women’s History Month, let’s delve deeper into the journey of women in trades exploring the challenges they have overcome and the strides they continue to make. 

Throughout both World War I and World War II, women were essential contributors to the war effort by taking on traditionally male roles to cover for the men fighting on the front lines. 

These pivotal moments in history marked a significant departure from societal norms, as women took on essential roles such as electrical work, welding, engine repair, and other trade-related tasks that were previously deemed not suitable for women. Their contributions not only helped sustain crucial industries during times of conflict but also paved the way for societal shifts in attitudes toward women in the trades. 

Fast forward to today, and women can enter the trades by choice, empowered by the progress made by their predecessors. But breaking into what remains a male-dominated field has not been without its challenges. 

After World War II, and after women had proven they were up to the job, women still faced gender bias, discrimination, and barriers to entry in trade jobs. Legal and social obstacles, including discriminatory practices, limited women’s opportunities in skilled trades. Laws and policies often excluded women from formal training programs and apprenticeships, and unions traditionally prohibited women from membership. 

Despite possessing the talent and ambition to excel in these trade skills, women were routinely denied equal access to employment opportunities solely based on their gender. It was not until the 1960s that the Equal Employment Opportunity Law made it illegal to prohibit access to jobs based on gender. 

In recent decades, there has been a growing presence of women in skilled trades. Efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity have led to more women pursuing careers in fields such as plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, and welding.  

It is not uncommon today for small businesses like plumbing companies, electrical services, and HVAC install and repair businesses to be owned and run by women. An increasing number of women are donning hard hats and following in their father’s footsteps onto the construction site.  

In fact, the construction industry has witnessed the remarkable achievements of numerous women who have not only excelled but have also become influential leaders in their respective fields.  

One such example is Patricia Galloway, the first female president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), whose pioneering work in civil engineering has earned her international acclaim. Similarly, Linda Alvarado, CEO of Alvarado Construction, has made history as one of the few Latina women to own a major construction company in the United States, overseeing multi-million-dollar projects such as sports stadiums and convention centers.  

In addition to individual contributions, the presence of women in construction brings unique perspectives, skills, and experiences to the table, enriching teams and contributing to innovation and problem-solving. By fostering an environment of mutual respect and collaboration, construction companies and organizations can harness the full potential of their workforce and drive positive outcomes for projects and communities alike. 

Successful women in construction have been catalysts for positive change, advocating for greater inclusivity and equity within the industry. Through mentorship programs, networking initiatives, and community outreach efforts, they actively work to create pathways for other women to enter and excel in construction careers. Their dedication to fostering supportive and inclusive work environments has helped break down barriers and challenge outdated perceptions.  

We asked one of our own recruiters about her experience working in the skilled trades sector. Daysha Juergens shared her insights on what it was like to establish her career in recruiting in a male-dominated arena. 

What challenges did you have to overcome, if any, that arose from being a woman in this field? The biggest challenge I have faced being a woman in this field was obtaining the knowledge of this industry needed to recruit. Initially, I started off at a trade school as a career specialist helping the students land jobs when they graduated. I took the time to visit the classrooms and observe/ask questions. Being able to see the students perform their trades really helped me have knowledge to build upon. I took every opportunity to learn more by visiting trade employers who hired our students and asking questions. As a recruiter in construction, I learned the most by speaking with the candidates. The more you interview a certain trade the better you get at asking the right questions to place them correctly.  

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? My greatest accomplishment would be completing a graduate degree as a first-generation college student. 

How have you seen the industry change over time in regard to women working in the business? While I worked for the trade school, we kept seeing rising amounts of women signing up to learn a trade. I’m seeing more marketing toward high school students going into the trades versus taking the traditional college route, which is exciting.  

Work with Trade Management to hire experienced tradespeople when you need them. Learn more today. 

Construction Career Goals for the Upcoming Year

Setting your construction career goals helps you move forward in your professional path. Understanding the qualifications needed to land your next role helps you prepare accordingly.

Developing career goals is especially important for the construction sector. In this evolving and competitive industry, you must have clarity about where you are in your professional path and what you can do to advance.

Begin creating your construction career goals now for the new year. Taking action to improve the areas that need work provides a foundation to advance your career.

Follow these steps to create construction career goals for 2023.

List Your Professional Details

Write down your construction skills, work experience, strengths, accomplishments, values, and current projects and responsibilities. This information helps determine what you want to accomplish in the next 12 months. Clarifying your professional details helps identify logical next steps in your career path.

Determine Your Destination

Consider what your dream construction job is. Then, find out what your next role should be to move toward this position.

If there are many steps between your current job and your dream job, break down the steps into a realistic timeline. Then, determine the action you can take this year to move toward your dream job.

Perform a Gap Analysis

Compare your current performance level with the level you want to be at in the next 12 months. For instance, check job postings that match your skills, experience, and interests. Then, rate your competency in each of the job requirements.

Pay close attention to the areas you need to improve. Then, develop goals to boost your performance in these areas.

Developing your skills increases your job qualifications. The more skills you have, the greater your eligibility for the opportunities that interest you.

Set SMART Goals

Create specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound (SMART) goals to develop the areas that need improvement. For instance, if you need to learn construction software, consider taking a class to learn the technology.

Following the SMART goal-setting process clarifies each step you should take and when to take it to reach your goals. Relating your goals to your career development provides motivation to continue making progress.

Ready to Find Your New Job?

Let Trade Management help you find a new job for the new year. Register with us today.

The Best Ways to Improve Your Construction Skills

Construction skills are key to completing onsite projects. Examples of these skills include machine operation, masonry, carpentry, and project management.

Proficiency in math, the ability to use common tools, and adherence to safety rules are important to construction employers. Demonstrating your construction skills can help you land the job that is right for you.

Follow these guidelines to improve your construction skills.

Stay Physically Fit

Maintaining your physical fitness increases your construction work performance. This also minimizes your risk of injuries. You can reach these objectives by eating healthy foods, exercising daily, and performing tasks that require dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Embrace Technology

Staying current on construction technology promotes professional development. One example is reality capture, where you gather real-time information about project sites through drones, laser scanners, or other technology. Construction professionals use the information gathered to make decisions and determine their course of action.

You can regularly read professional websites and publications to learn about the latest developments in construction technology. You also can spend time using mobile apps, drones, and other emerging technology relevant to your work.

Learn New Construction Techniques

Methods to perform construction tasks like pipe fitting and drywall finishing continue to improve. Newer skills include working with modular construction practices, construction robotics, and offsite manufacturing strategies. These modern methods of construction minimize labor costs and improve construction quality, as well as reducing the time to complete projects.

Updating your construction techniques increases your on-the-job efficiency. You can develop your methods by reading industry publications, watching professional videos, or working with experienced construction professionals.

Participate in Classes

By remaining current on building materials, tools and equipment, and processes, you add value to construction projects. Consider engaging in continuing education through online classes, community colleges, or trade schools. You may want to take a heavy equipment operation class through a construction equipment manufacturer.

Engage in Safety Courses

Prioritizing safety is important for construction work. You may regularly read regulatory websites or publications, take safety classes, or earn safety certifications. OSHA offers free, and low-cost courses focused on important safety protocols.

Develop Your Soft Skills

Strong interpersonal skills are increasingly important as automation becomes more common. Your ability to interact professionally with others enhances your work performance.

For instance, displaying effective verbal, nonverbal, and written communication minimizes accidents, injuries, errors, and delays in completing projects. Also, through critical thinking, you can quickly adapt to project changes. Additionally, conflict management minimizes disruptions that could delay project completion.

You can develop your soft skills by reading about best practices in industry publications. Then, you can implement what you learned while on the job.

Looking for a Construction Job?

Partner with Trade Management to land a construction job that fits your goals and interests. Register with us today.

Negotiating Construction Rates as a Job Seeker

If you are like most employees, you do not like negotiation. This can make it hard to negotiate your construction rate when securing a job.

However, it is up to you to negotiate the construction rate that fits your construction performance and personal needs. Otherwise, you likely will not increase your income or be happy with your job.

Implement these tips to negotiate the construction rates you desire.


Set a Foundation for Your Rate

Determine exactly why you should be paid the construction rate you desire. Have detailed reasons to support your request. For instance, you show up to work on time, put in your best effort, and stay as long as needed.

Offer a Range of Rates

Decide on a construction rate slightly above and one rate well above the rate you would like to earn. Then, offer the two higher numbers as a range for your construction rate. This gives you more leverage to potentially earn a higher rate than anticipated.

If you start negotiating with only one construction rate, it may be below the minimum rate the employer was willing to pay you. For instance, you might request 20% more than you usually earn, but the employer may be willing to pay you 30% more than you usually earn. This is why offering a range is more beneficial.

Point Out Your Value

Clarify what the employer gains by hiring you. For instance, you create quality work, finish projects on time, and regularly are recognized for your contributions.

Then, show what the employer may lose by not having you work for them. For instance, hiring another worker means they might be late or not show up. Also, they could cut corners while doing the work. Plus, the quality of the finished product may be poor. Any rework that needs to be done will take additional time and money.

Show How the Employer Benefits

Emphasize the value you provide for employers. The increased construction rate you desire is due to your skill level and years of experience. You are dedicated to completing quality work according to the timeline and within the budget.

Prepare for Objections

The employer likely will have reasons to pay you a lower construction rate than you desire. You need prepared responses to show why you deserve the rate you requested.

For instance, the employer may say the budget does not allow them to pay you the requested rate. You can assure them the quality of your work will be worth the extra amount. You might be able to finish your work early, which would save additional money in the budget.

Work with a Recruiter

A recruiter from Trade Management can negotiate construction rates on your behalf. Register to get started today.

How to Start a Career in Construction

start a career in construction

start a career in construction

If you’re a recent high school graduate, congratulations! Your hard work and dedication paid off.

If you are interested in starting your career, consider getting into the construction industry. The low barrier to entry, variety of job openings, and competitive pay rates make construction one of the best fields to enter.

Follow these guidelines to begin your career in construction today.


Create Your Resume

Your resume highlights your skills and experience that are relevant to the job you want. Because you don’t have formal construction experience, focus on your transferrable skills from other jobs or volunteer work that can benefit an employer. These may include reliability, communication, time management, problem-solving, and work ethic.

Use Your Network

Talk with the members of your network who have connections in the construction industry. Be sure to share your career goals so your connections know what you’re looking for. They may mention a job opening, introduce you to an employee, or refer you to a hiring manager.

Secure a Temporary Job

Work with a local staffing firm that specializes in construction to land a temporary job. This lets you work under the supervision of an experienced professional. You can gain the skills and experience required for either an apprenticeship or full-time employment. You also can decide which field of construction you want to focus on.

Consider an Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship helps provide the skills and experience needed to land a full-time construction job. It involves 2 to 4 years of classroom learning and hands-on training for your field. Because you typically get paid during your apprenticeship, you can learn while earning income.

Select a Field

Use your temporary job or apprenticeship to decide which construction field you want to pursue. Then, focus on finding a job in the specialty that interests you. This helps you gain the most relevant skills and experience for your career path. For instance, if you enjoy welding or working with metal, you may want to become a sheet metal engineer. Or, if you prefer planning, budgeting, and overseeing projects, you might want to become a project manager.

Land Your First Construction Job

Trade Management can place you with employers looking for entry-level construction workers. Register with us today.

 

OSHA Updates for 2022

OSHA 2022

OSHA 2022OSHA compliance is critical for construction employers. Staying current on OSHA changes and programs helps you take action to increase protective measures for the safety of your employees. Although much of recent OSHA update coverage has focused on vaccine mandates, there are many other ongoing OSHA programs aimed at maintaining a safe work environment.

The following OSHA programs will impact your construction employees throughout 2022.


National Safety Stand-Down 

The National Safety-Stand Down increases fall hazard awareness to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities among construction workers.  

  • This voluntary event encourages employers to talk with employees about company safety policies and goals, the importance of fall prevention, and the use of protective methods.   
  • Conduct a Safety Stand-Down during a toolbox talk, safety equipment inspection, development of a rescue plan, or discussion of specific job hazards.  
  • Provide feedback about a Safety Stand-Down and download a Certificate of Participation from OSHA.

Heat Stress Emphasis Program 

A federal heat standard regarding heat injury and illness prevention in indoor and outdoor work settings is being formed.  

  • A reduction in the number of workers who die from job-related heat stress continues to be a growing priority.  
  • A program with national emphasis is being developed to protect workers from hot environments to reduce ambient heat exposure.  
  • A National Advisory Committee on Heat Injury and Illness Prevention is being formed to better identify the challenges impacting worker safety.

Other Programs Impacting Construction

  • The OSHA Fatality Inspection Procedures to Victim’s Family facilitates the exchange of information throughout the inspection and settlement process. This keeps the family informed of the status of the inspection, preliminary findings, any issued citations, proposed penalties, settlement, and closure of the case.  
  • The Combustible Dust program reduces combustible duty hazards such as explosion prevention and mitigation controls.  
  • The Lead Exposure program includes a system to measure lead exposure during inspections.
  • Trenching and Excavation emphasizes the reduction or elimination of workplace hazards related to these operations.

Programs with Regional Emphasis Impacting Construction  

Each of OSHA’s 10 regions may have programs that emphasize specific issues related to the construction industry.  

  • Seven regions, including the entire country east of the Mississippi and the Pacific Northwest, have programs regarding noise hazards in the workplace.  
  • All federal regions other than the Kansas City region and the South Pacific islands are focusing programs on fall hazards. 
  • New England, the Pacific Northwest, and Texas and the contiguous states are focusing special attention on construction cranes.  
  • Regions stretching from New York south to Virginia and west to Minnesota have programs focused on demolition.  
  • Nebraska and Kansas have programs emphasizing commercial and residential construction after severe weather. 
  • The Rock Mountain region has a program focused on asbestos abatement. 
  • New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have programs related to heavy highway and bridge construction.

Looking to Hire Construction Workers?

Partner with Trade Management to find the construction workers you need to work on your projects. Contact us today.

Explaining Electrical Apprenticeships & Different Career Paths

Working as an electrician provides many career opportunities. The ongoing reliance on electrical systems provides you with a high level of job security. One of the best ways to begin your career as an electrician is by securing an electrical apprenticeship. The skills and experience you gain can lead to your first full-time job.

Find out what an electrical apprenticeship involves and what some of your career options may be.


Education 

A high school diploma or GED is needed to gain an electrical apprenticeship. An emphasis on algebra, trigonometry, physics, shop, and mechanical drawing is important. When you secure an electrical apprenticeship, you typically have 4 weeks of classroom training per year for 4-5 years. This training should include electrical theory, current safety measures, and related information. Once you complete 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training, you graduate to a journeyman electrician. This additional experience provides you with greater earning potential. If you decide to become a master electrician, you typically need to work an average of 2 years, complete at least 4,000 documented hours as a journeyman electrician, take classes, and pass a test. Then, you can work unsupervised, pull permits, supervise other electricians, and train electrical apprentices. Reaching this level can further increase your earning power.

Job Duties

In an electrical apprenticeship, your tasks are determined by the journeyman electrician, who is your supervisor. Initially, you’ll learn to read schematics and gather tools and materials for the job. As you gain experience, you might install conduits or new wiring, replace old or damaged wiring, or install lighting, fire alarms, or security systems under close supervision. Other tasks may include mounting panel boards, switches, and other equipment or troubleshooting and repairing equipment.

Licenses and Certifications

Most states require electricians to pass a test and be licensed. Contact your local or state electrical licensing board to determine the requirements for licensure. You may need to work for several years as a journeyman electrician supervised by a master electrician.

Maintenance and Construction Careers

If you like working in different areas, then you may want a career in maintenance and construction. Typical duties include wiring and working on repairs for residential buildings. You can work with the construction team to bring electricity to the structure.

Industrial Establishment Careers

If you want to perform electrical work in different industries, you may choose a career in an industrial establishment. Most work involves installation, essential maintenance, and repairs for switchboard meters, industrial storage batteries, and hydraulic electrical control units. The more basic aspects include wiring, assembling fiber-optic cables, and installing and repairing light fixtures.

Network Cabling Careers

If you want to help set up communication systems, you may choose a career in network cabling. You may install and maintain data systems for internet providers, ensure proper video transmissions for telecommunications, or maintain the communication systems of educational institutions and industry offices.

Find an Electrical Apprenticeship

Work with Trade Management to secure an electrical apprenticeship. Register with us today.