A new analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reports that between 2017 and 2018, the number of women working in construction trades increased by 17.6 percent, rising to 276,000, according to www.forconstructionpros.com. This is nearly five times faster than job growth of 3.7 percent in construction occupations overall.

Although the share of women working in construction trades in 2018 is the highest in 20 years, fewer than one in 20 (3.4 percent) of construction trades workers in 2018 were women; the only other time since 1999 when the share was above 3 percent was in 2006. When the number included administrative and back office staff, women were fewer than one in ten (9.9 percent) workers employed in the sector.

“In 2019, women’s stark under-representation in these well-paid jobs is disconcerting, but it is very encouraging to see such strong growth in the number of women entering the construction trades,” says Ariane Hegewisch, IWPR program director on Employment & Earnings. “The industry still has more work to do to attract and retain women in these jobs and create a work environment that is welcoming to all workers, regardless of their gender, race or ethnicity. Women-focused pre-apprenticeship programs and tradeswomen organizations are doing great work to help the industry adapt to a changing future of work.”