Celebrating Women in Construction
The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has identified March 1-7 as Women in Construction Week. With the motto, “Paving new roads to construction,” NAWIC sets out to highlight women as a viable component of the Construction industry and to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in this industry. The Garrett Companies couldn’t pass up this opportunity to join with NAWIC in raising awareness and highlighting the tremendous success that women have found with our organization in their construction career.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up 9.9% of the construction industry workforce in the United States. The Garrett Companies currently employs seven women in our construction division, or 16% of our construction workforce, and those numbers are growing. Meghann Conklin, a Project Engineer who joined the Garrett team in late 2019 told us, “Women have been active in financial and administrative roles in construction for a long time, but we are gradually moving into other branches, such as design, engineering, labor, and project management. It’s wonderful that the next generation of women have such a wide array of construction career roles to move into.” The executive team at The Garrett Companies has been watching this trend and has taken action to diversify the construction team in order to outperform their competition and remain an employer of choice. Team members are taking notice. Sierra Hughes, a Preconstruction Associate with The Garrett Companies recently told us, “Diversity is so important with any company. If you have all the same type of people working within a company, you will always produce similar results. By diversifying, a company opens themselves up to fresh and new perspectives.”
It hasn’t always been easy for women to get their foot in the door in the field of construction. Hughes shared, “When I first started in this industry, I was young and a female. It was a double whammy. I got talked down to, talked over, and sometimes unfortunately wasn’t taken seriously.” But all the women on the Garrett team agree that times are changing, and that through perseverance, women are forging a path for their peers to follow. Hughes went on to say, “At the end of the day, these experiences…made me a stronger and more determined employee. I have always had confidence in my work and I knew that if I kept pushing on…others would eventually gain confidence in me too.” Kelli Parham, Construction Accountant added, “I believe women have earned respect and appreciation in the industry just the same as men do. However, I believe women just have a better way of navigating the details. The details are important and we have a way of making them shine. This is why we as women are needed in this industry.” Carla Scroggins, Construction Administrator for The Garrett Companies explained, “I think women play an important role in construction operations because in many ways we approach situations in a different manner and may see conclusions that others may not. Everyone comes from a different setting and that brings a new dynamic to the team to enhance our culture and our success.”
The construction industry is booming, which makes this a perfect time for women to enter the industry. According to Statista, new construction put in place is forecast to reach over 1.53 trillion U.S. dollars by 2022. When asked, all female members of the Garrett team agreed that this is a perfect time for women to begin a new career path. “Go for it – it’s a great path to take! The wage gap between the genders in construction are in the top three lowest of all industries, surprisingly,” said Conklin. She went on to say, “Generally speaking, women are natural multi-taskers, which is a skill highly necessary in project management. There is a lot of growth and flexibility in construction field and women appreciate that, regardless of whether their life path is starting a family or career-driven,” we heard from Conklin. Scroggins added, “I would encourage anyone who is interested in this career path to look for an opportunity. Whether it is administration, project management or in the field – the construction industry is ever changing and would allow them a career that is challenging and rewarding.”
If you feel inspired to explore a career path in construction, we invite you to start that conversation with us. The Garrett Companies is actively recruiting to grow our construction team, and we would like to hear from you. Visit the Careers page of our website to begin the conversation.