How Contractors Can Support Women in the Workforce
We are sharing an article from Construction Executive
written by Michelle Stedman on November 27, 2019.
All Weather Specialist supports women in trades.
A healthy industry with steady growth is a wonderful thing. But if there is not enough employees to do the work, companies can’t take part in the prosperity. For those in the construction industry, meeting the current growing demand is a real concern. The solution? Diversify the workforce by actively recruiting and supporting women.
Expanding the recruitment audience to include women can fill gaps. Plus, a diverse workforce helps improve productivity, creativity and company reputation, but contractors can’t just will it to happen. They need to take steps to create a work environment that supports women.
Offering great benefits will draw every employee to a job and 401(k), health, dental are all pretty standard, if not expected. But companies that support women go above and beyond traditional benefits to offer options that speak directly to women and their needs.
For example, female employees are more likely than males to assign high importance to greater work/life balance opportunities. It is hard to think about work when your child is sick or you can’t take time off to recuperate after having a baby. Offering more benefits that speak to female employees’ work/life balance allows them to be more engaged at work because they’re not stressing about home.
Not only will offering these types of benefits appeal to more female candidates, but the company’s entire future recruitment efforts will be positively impacted as well. Today’s candidates are looking for employers who think outside the box when it comes to benefits—and the company will be able to brand itself as progressive.
Equal pay is an extremely hot topic at the moment, and rightfully so. Women are now aware of the gender pay gap, and they’re no longer content to accept less pay than males for doing the same job. Any company that ensures wage gaps are eliminated will appeal to more women candidates. The good news is the construction industry already has a leg up in this department. Currently, women makeup 9.1% of the U.S. construction workforce, and earn an average of 95.7% of what their male counterparts make, according to The National Association of Women in Construction. (If you’re wondering, women earn an average of 82% of what their male counterparts do in other industries.) These numbers for the construction industry are positive and should be shared during recruiting efforts, along with striving to reach 100% equality. Add a guarantee for equal pay to all recruitment efforts; if the company is a federal contractor, it’s required to do this for OFCCP compliance.
No matter the industry, office or company, sexual harassment can happen anywhere; although it can happen to both women and men, women tend to be most affected. In fact, women are nine times more likely to quit, five times more likely to transfer and three times more likely to lose jobs than men because of harassment. For the construction industry, where 88% of women have reported being sexually harassed, not having policies and plans in-place reduces the company’s chances of retaining great employees and could cause millions in lawsuits and litigation. A good sexual harassment policy includes uploading training videos and documents to a learning management system and holding discussions and mandatory sessions to maintain compliance.
Establishing a mentoring program during the onboarding process can help boost retention rates, especially for women and minorities. It has been found that companies with mentoring programs saw retention and promotion rates for these employees go from 15% to 38%. When new hires are being mentored, they feel as though they are being listened to and that they have a safe place to go if they have questions or concerns that are specific to their position or to the organization as a whole. The more time and attention spent on the onboarding process, the more engaged employees are going to be—leading to lower turnover, increased performance, reduced stress (for the company and the employee) and improved job satisfaction. Construction businesses worked hard to draw more female employees in, don’t lose them because of a poor onboarding experience. Taking steps to support women in the workplace is just good business. Implementing these benefits and policies will not only appeal to women but also to the rest of the staff. Employees who feel their company will put their needs first will be more engaged, productive and loyal, reducing the chances for turnover. Contractors work hard to recruit employees in this challenging market, now work hard to keep them.