Today, our employees are among the 10 million people who work in the construction industry in the U.S. Though construction was hit hard by the pandemic, the industry is once again on a growth trajectory, expected to grow at a robust rate of 4.8% annually for the…LEARN MORE
HBW Highlights Women in Construction Week
It’s Women in Construction Week, and here at HBW Construction, we have reason to celebrate. A week isn’t enough to recognize what women are doing in our industry, but it’s a great opportunity to acknowledge and feature the women in our workforce at a time when the number of women in construction is at an all-time high.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there has been an increase in women joining the construction industry in both field and office roles since 2016. As of August 2022, 14 percent of construction workers nationwide were women. In fact, The Washington Post reported that the highest share of women in construction was here in Washington D.C. at 17.6 percent.
HBW strives to set the bar even higher – women now make up 26 percent of our workforce. We had our first female project manager in 2005 and our first female superintendent in 2019. This year we also announced our first female vice president. Did you know women manage more than $56 million in HBW projects across our business?
Economists suggest that the increase of women in construction is the result of a tighter labor market, more job opportunities, and a cultural shift that has made construction workplaces more welcoming for women.
Cultivating The Right Environment
Earlier this year, we wrote about the vision for HBW’s future and our commitment to creating opportunities, ongoing education, and continued career growth paths for all of our employees. Being deliberate about cultivating a supportive environment for personal success makes good business sense and is inclusive of everyone, including women.
Our managers lay the groundwork, helping employees set goals and envision their future. There isn’t one track that works for everyone — we look to individual employees’ talents and interests to guide their way — plus the initiative to work towards the next level. Our “growth from within” philosophy is foundational to HBW, and you’ll find many stories of employees who started in the trades or in entry-level positions and worked their way up. We have several women on staff who have grown their careers here for 10+ and even 20+ years.
The Importance of Women in Construction
Women bring a different perspective to construction, adding diversity to an industry where traditions often have a stronghold. We’ve observed that at HBW, women think differently, helping visualize multiple ways to get to the end result or improve upon a process. Women have played a critical role in cultivating relationships, helping to grow our client base and driving repeat business.
Importantly, we recognize that women moving up through the ranks inspires and motivates others. The diversity of our Executive Leadership team sends a strong message that we value talent – of any gender, ethnicity, or race.
About her Vice President title, Melissa Jones is thankful and thoughtful, “The validation and recognition means a lot to me. And it’s actually made me think a little bit differently about how I carry myself. I want to have a positive impact on those I work with and be the best mentor possible.”
Indeed, Melissa’s team was also ecstatic about her promotion. She continued, “I think it opens the door for them and what their possibilities are at HBW and in construction.”
A Forum of Support
A 2023 McKinsey Report, “Women in the Workplace,” concluded that women increasingly want to work for companies that prioritize career advancement, flexibility, and employee well-being – and will quit when their needs aren’t being met. That’s why it’s important to us that HBW Construction has its own internal Women in Construction group.
The group has its own mission and vision, conducts professional development events, and meets regularly. This year, during Women in Construction Week, the group is hosting a construction tour to visit projects that are run by female project managers.
It’s also a forum for women to share their challenges and receive support or guidance from other women who have “been there and done that.”
New Pathways Worth Exploring
Encouraging women to consider a career in construction includes educational opportunities and shining a light on jobs that appeal to their many specific and individual talents and interests. We advise other women to have an open mind about construction. Many picture bulldozers and dump trucks when they see a construction company name on a job posting, but that’s not the whole industry, and there’s a business side to every construction site.
HBW Construction isn’t a brick-and-mortar builder, but it is a fast-paced business that is strategic about growth, making it ripe with opportunities for women.
Melissa took a leap of faith coming to HBW. She was burned out from her job as the director of a busy preschool but had a strong background in operations and juggling multiple priorities.
“I didn’t really know anything about construction, but from the first moment I came in for the interview, I could tell the people were really genuine and really had a passion for the work. I’ve been here nine years, and it still feels brand new. I have such comradery with our team and enjoy how different each day can be.”
Kelly started as an entry-level marketing assistant. “People were very supportive from day one. I know it’s cliché to say, it feels like a family here but that’s exactly how it feels. I am given the trust and flexibility to do my job how I see fit and am valued for that work. That’s really important to me.”
We asked other women at HBW to share their vision for the future of women in construction.
“I would love to see even more women in project management and team executive roles.” Project Manager, 9 months with HBW
“I would like to see women treated as equals 100% of the time in this industry. We are just as smart, organized, strong, and capable, if not more so, in some cases.” Senior Project Manager, 5 years with HBW
“I hope to see women in leadership positions continue to grow and more women in the field at HBW.” Marketing Manager, 10 years with HBW
“For a long time, the industry was a little rigid regarding how and who should fill specific roles. I hope to see more companies retain their female employees by giving them the opportunities they deserve.”Digital Marketing Coordinator, 8 years with HBW
These visions are within reach and part of a larger effort. Last year, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, announced the Million Women in Construction Initiative to double the number of women in construction — from 1 million to 2 million — over the next ten years. The industry is pushing to make it happen by supporting organizations like NAWIC, the CREW Network, and Women Building Washington.
If you want to explore career opportunities in construction for women or be part of HBW’s growth story, visit www.hbwconstruction.com/careers, or contact Melissa Jones 301.424.2900.
Melissa Jones, Vice President, Office Operations / Talent Management, has embraced the firm’s culture of building strong relationships to identify top candidates.
Kelly Jones has been with HBW for more than 10 years and is currently the Marketing Manager. She is an active member of CREW.