article title image

Published on 1/30/2021

Published by marketing@concretebroker.com.au

Concrete Industry Offers Lucrative Career Path for Women

Women CEOs of concrete companies are smashing glass ceilings

Source : concretedecor.net


Cover Photo : Victoria Morgan Simpson, owner of Capitol Decorative Concrete in Piedmont, South Carolina, has been in the concrete business 28 years and is still enjoying the adventure. “What I love most about my work is that the ‘process’ may always be the same but every job is a one of a kind,” she says. Photos courtesy of Capitol Decorative Concrete



Women CEOs of concrete companies are smashing glass ceilings and bucking trends that have emerged for women in other nontraditional occupations. While women CEOs only comprise 2 percent in the basic and infrastructure sectors according to World Economic Forum and Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the majority of nearly 1,000 women contacted felt that the concrete industry can offer a relatively fast route to entrepreneurship without years of advanced education.

Women’s participation in other nontraditional occupations, such as engineering and transportation, has been increasing, but women struggle to advance in STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and math) professions. Meanwhile women’s participation in construction has remained at roughly the same level since the 1980s — 2 to 9.5 percent depending on which indices are used — but women-owned construction businesses have more than doubled since the 1990s.


Invisible barriers

Glass ceiling theory refers to the invisible barriers that hold women back from advancing professionally, receiving promotions and holding executive positions. Despite the staying power and fluency of this metaphor, researchers have yet to identify all the factors that contribute to this phenomenon.

In construction and skilled trades, women have told me horror stories about being outright discriminated against, making it difficult to obtain journey level while in an apprenticeship, because they were regularly passed over for hours. However, the gender pay gap is much smaller in construction than other industries, and for the most part women earn good salaries that are on par or nearly on par with their male counterparts. Many tend to find rewarding, lifelong careers in the industry.

In concrete construction, glass ceiling effects seem minimal, but entering the industry in the first place is a much greater challenge. Women generally lack awareness about career paths in construction and concrete. They are unclear about the kinds of jobs available and the skills needed to succeed in those jobs. With few role models, it’s difficult for them to imagine themselves working in the industry.

It shouldn’t be surprising that successful concrete business owners worked in the industry before deciding to become entrepreneurs. Knowledge gained from real-world and hands-on experiences about the product, market and customer base is necessary to succeed. While this is true of most sectors and services, concrete is unique and special in many ways.


“I never get tired of going to work. The instant gratification is a gift to me every day. Creative trades like mine are so well suited for women.” That is, she adds, as long as they don’t mind getting dirty every day.


“I never get tired of going to work. The instant gratification is a gift to me every day. Creative trades like mine are so well suited for women.” That is, she adds, as long as they don’t mind getting dirty every day.


Additionally, the U.S. construction industry is particularly situated and supported toward fueling small businesses. The U.S. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, for example, is designed to assist small businesses to participate in public projects by requiring general contractors to allocate certain percentages of work to DBEs. Since 1978, federal contractors have been required to commit 6.9 percent of total construction work hours on federal projects to women.


Still wet behind the ears

I still consider myself new to the wonders of concrete, even though I’ve been actively studying it for several years. My first World of Concrete was in 2012. Before that I had researched the topics of concrete, construction and women working in nontraditional occupations, as well as having conducted “field work” while working on a few construction projects throughout the U.S. and abroad.

I’m continually fascinated by the latest advances in this ubiquitous substance, such as bendable concrete, translucent concrete and self-repairing concrete. Add to that the myriad uses and applications of concrete — residential, decorative, polished, structural — and I’m amazed that a basic Concrete 101 class isn’t a mandatory requirement for a construction management degree. It also should be evident that there’s a plethora of business opportunities in concrete from which to choose.


Article Image


Check out these female concrete crews in Seattle USA

Article Image


The Skys the limit!

Article Image


At age 24, Glenda Merlini knows she will never walk again

Article Image


Construction has long been a male dominated industry

Article Image


Hanson's head of recruitment, Helen Johnson, says hiring female apprentices is "a no brainer".?

Article Image


Home handy-woman April Wilkerson shows us how to pour a concrete slab

Article Image


How to get more women in construction

Tags: careers decorative concrete glass ceiling women concrete

This article was written by marketing@concretebroker.com.au all rights reserved. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of concretebroker.com