Women in Construction: One Professional’s Experience

women in construction
Image Source: freepik.es

We’ve all been to networking events where people ask “What do you do?” When I tell people that I’m a construction manager, they often want to know what it’s like being woman in the male-dominated construction industry. That’s when I share my experience with an early mentor in the industry.

Not long after starting my construction management firm, I was referred to a contractor by a mutual friend who thought he’d be a good mentor for me because of his residential and commercial construction experience. He was skeptical to meet me because whenever he met a woman in the construction industry, she had the goal of finding a husband – not because of a keen desire for the work.

After learning more about me and my inspiration for becoming a construction manager, he came to the conclusion that I was the “real deal” and had no hidden agenda. That set the tone for a successful mentor-mentee relationship based on mutual respect.

What I admired about my new mentor was that, despite his initial skepticism, he never inferred that I was not capable of doing the job of a construction manager because I was a woman. In fact, since I was focusing on the residential remodeling market and since women initiate 80% of home improvement purchasing decisions, being woman could be an advantage. However, he did let me know that until there are more women in construction industry working on job sites, I would encounter skepticism and unconscious bias since women in the industry were historically employed in office roles, not in the field.

homeowners with woman construction manager

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Homeowners prefer working with someone that listens more than talks and makes them feel heard. The fact that I happen to be a woman that possess these characteristics has helped lower their anxiety and build trust early on.

So what’s it like being a woman in the construction industry? For me, it’s awesome helping people bring their dream homes to life.

This article was originally published on monicadhiggins.com

Women in Construction: One Professional’s Experience was last modified: March 8th, 2018 by Monica D. Higgins
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