Opportunities for Women in Trade
When the United States entered World War II in 1941, it was the beginning of a seismic shift in the American workforce. As millions of men left for Europe, Africa, and the Pacific, they left behind a gap in the factories and skilled trades. Women stepped up by the millions, helping keep industry and construction running smoothly stateside, and turning the USA into the Arsenal of Democracy. Seven decades later, women are still a necessary part of the workforce but are woefully underrepresented in the trades. Even though construction, on the whole, is expected to grow by up to 12 percent by 2026, only 9.1 percent of the modern construction workforce is made up of women. Far from being discouraged by these statistics, J&S Masonry sees them as an opportunity. If you’re one of the growing numbers of women seeking commercial masonry careers in the Pacific Northwest, you’re welcome here.
Women in Construction
We’re in the midst of another period of seismic change. The Baby Boomer generation is entering retirement age, creating more openings in the building trades. This coincides with changes in priorities, as the climbing cost of higher education finds many younger people seeking alternatives to an expensive diploma and decades of student loan debt, and others reconsidering after finding a hard time getting work with a degree. Then, too, we’re finally leaving behind outdated stereotypes and ideas around gender roles that deprived women of opportunities to work outside of the home and hindered their ability to contribute to the construction industry. We think these changes are a net positive.
Women in Trade: a Growing Workforce
Not sure if you have what it takes to enter the masonry trade? We know from experience that you’re up to the challenge.
Demands of the Trade
In contrast to the electrical trade — where lighter materials have led to 25% workforce participation by women — many women are deterred from masonry because of the perceived physical demands. There’s some truth to this; masonry is demanding since we work in all weather conditions with heavier materials. However, we have found that anyone is up to the task. After all, proper training knows no gender, and once you’re trained and understand safe material handling, it’s just a matter of going through the repetition to build muscle mass to accomplish the job.
Gender Makeup of the Industry
Men have dominated the construction trades in past years, and masonry is no exception. However, there are a number of nonprofits, public-private partnerships, state and federal agencies, and conscious companies, like J&S Masonry, working to welcome more women to the skilled trades. Demand for skilled workers is skyrocketing in the construction industry, and what we’re concerned with is the capabilities our prospective hires bring to the table — regardless of their gender.
J&S Masonry’s Commitment to Increasing the Number of Women in Trade
During World War II, women stepped up to make the trades stronger. Now, it’s time for the trades to return the favor. J&S Masonry isn’t just calling for diversity; we’re actively working to build a more diverse workforce. Like our masonry projects, this has taken some planning to make sure we’re building on a firm footing.
Many of the employment roles traditionally filled by women have a work-life balance that ranges from precarious to nonexistent. We approach things differently; we know that when our employees can balance their family life with the demands of work, they’re happier, healthier, more productive, and safer. That’s why we work on a five-day schedule with set hours of around 6 AM to 2:30 PM in the summer, and winter work running from 7:30 to 4 PM. Also, we offer a competitive medical and benefits package.
Harassment has no place on our job sites. In the interest of a safe and respectful work environment, J&S Masonry has a zero-tolerance policy toward harassment.
Building a Safe and Supportive Environment
Our efforts in the workplace continue beyond the confines of our offices and our projects. Beyond the women who currently work with us — a number that we’re aggressively seeking to grow to at least ten percent of our crews — our commitment to a supportive and collaborative environment extends to our work with women-owned suppliers.
The bottom line? If you have the qualifications for the masonry trade and you’re up for a challenge, J&S Masonry wants you on our team. Get in touch with one of our offices in North Bend, WA, Salem, OR or Portland, OR today!