Today marks the start of the National Association of Women in Construction’s (NAWIC) annual Women in Construction Week celebration. From March 1—7, thousands of members across the country are going to be raising awareness and emphasizing the growing role of women in the construction industry by hosting events, showing their pride, and giving back to their local communities.
As a valued member of the industry, Greiner Construction is incredibly proud to take part in the celebration. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the current landscape of women in the workforce, what we’re personally doing to address it, and then talk to a few of our female team members about what it’s like working in construction today.
The situation today
As a whole, the construction industry today is facing a labor shortage. The surprising thing is though, the skilled laborers we need have been there all along. Despite only making up a small fraction of the current construction workforce, women are in a great position to start taking on more active roles throughout the industry.
There is undeniably a stigma surrounding women working in construction, which needs to be properly addressed. If young women in particular can’t overcome this stereotype, then we have a big problem. That is why events such as Women in Construction Week are so important, as the goal is “getting the word out there that women are growing in this industry, and that we’re supporting one another in it.”
Women in construction, by the numbers
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of January 2019, over 1.1 million women were employed across all construction sectors. Women now make up roughly 9% of the U.S. construction industry.
- On average, women in construction earn 99.1% of what men make, compared to the significantly lower 81.1% average across all other U.S. industries. (BLS Report)
- 15 Years ago, Greiner was comprised of only 1% females. Today, that number has skyrocketed to 23% of our current workforce.
- Greiner currently employs 20 female team members. In the last 6 months alone, 5 new women have joined the team (2 of which are Project Managers).
- Accounting Manager Theresa Weatherly is Greiner’s longest tenured female employee, celebrating 20 years this fall.
Greiner’s commitment to championing women in the workforce
Greiner Construction has worked hard to shape a culture that supports the growth of all its female team members. It takes a whole team of women to make this company successful, which is why we’ve hired female employees in project management, field engineering, marketing and business development, accounting, and more.
Kate Carlson, a member of Greiner’s senior executive team, has grown tremendously with the company. Throughout her 15-year career, she has held such roles as receptionist, project assistant, and project engineer. Now serving as our Administrative Director, Kate is in charge of many of Greiner’s most essential operations that keep us running day in and day out.
Two of our other team members, Senior Project Manager Stacy Glovka and Field Engineer Crystal Felch, were recently nominated by Finance & Commerce for the prestigious Women in Construction Award. We are incredibly proud of their achievement!
Q&A with some of Greiner’s female team members
What attracted you to the construction field?
Crystal Felch: I like being hands-on and where the action is happening. The constant movement and changes that happen on site keep me engaged and loving the job!
Kate Carlson: A friend of mine was hiring at a small construction company when I had just graduated from college. What I thought would be a short-term job grew into a career that I love.
Heather Weerheim: I fell into the construction industry because of my real estate experience and at the time I liked that I was learning something new every day.
What do you enjoy most about working in construction?
Erin Manning: I enjoy watching a building rise up from nothing but a hole in the ground and being able to see all the different stages of a new building.
Stacy Glovka: The collaboration.
Heather Weerheim: All the people—the clients, architects, and sub-contractors that come together to create a beautiful and functional space.
What does being a woman in construction mean to you?
Crystal Felch: To me, it means showing that women can be just as successful as men in male-dominated fields.
Stacy Glovka: It means being a good role model to other women who want to join the industry.
Kate Carlson: To me, being a woman in construction has meant navigating being a mother, a wife, and a responsible team member. It has been really cool to see how much this industry has changed over the past 20 years. I get to work with more women today than at any other time in my career.
What is your favorite part of a project?
Kate Carlson: My favorite part of the project is the beginning—the time before any physical construction, when all the planning and collaboration really begins. I love building that excitement and getting all the necessary pieces and people aligned to set the stage for a really successful project.
Heather Weerheim: The chase of winning the work—it’s exhilarating and fulfilling!
Mary Johnson: Seeing the completed projects.
What advice would you give to a woman entering the industry now?
Erin Manning: Don’t let people intimidate you into thinking you can’t do it because you are a woman.
Mary Johnson: Do it! There are lots of great opportunities for women.
Crystal Felch: Speak your mind and don’t let others talk over you. Your insight is just as important as anyone else’s.
A huge thanks to these wonderful Greiner women for taking time out of their busy days to share their thoughts with us. Their unique strengths, diverse perspectives, and commitment to advancing women in the workforce is truly remarkable. If you’d like to learn more about them, you can visit our employee directory page.
And if you’re in need of a partner to help you with anything from new construction and expansions to occupied remodels and renovations, then look no further than Greiner. Contact us today and our team will show you why we’ve become known as the “gold standard” of quality and service in the industry.
Greiner Construction—Building Strength from the Inside Out
In 2019, with a vision to share our company‘s “gold standard” to a regional client-base, Greiner expanded into the thriving city of Des Moines, Iowa. As our company evolves and continues to expand into new markets, the executive leadership team upholds Wolfgang’s original vision for the firm—one that is focused on providing authentic customer service and unrivaled quality.