March 8, 2014

Women in Construction

In recognition of Women in Construction Week, we took a closer look at the available statistics on women in the industry. The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) President, Yasmine Branden said, “Women in Construction Week is a time in which we celebrate our successes and highlight construction as a viable career choice.”

Construction has historically been a male-dominated industry and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the representation of women has idled at around 9% for well over a decade. Branden shared positive news, “The latest industry research indicates women comprise up to 12 percent of the construction workforce. We are in every facet of construction— owners, project managers, engineers, craftspeople, general contractors, subcontractors, administrative personnel, attorneys, insurers and lenders.”

The data below builds the case of why women should join the construction workforce, but also explores some daunting setbacks. Though women continue to enter other industries rather than the male-dominated construction industry, the BLS confirmed that women’s-to-men’s earnings ratios were higher among women employed in construction as compared to all other industries.

With a mere 7% of Construction firms being women-owned, this industry has one of the lowest concentrations of women-owned firms. Additionally, the number of women-owned business in the construction industry has been declining significantly.

The 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report concluded that a decrease of 21.3% of women-owned businesses occurred in the Construction industry from 2002 to 2013. These numbers are quite staggering when compared to the 32.8% national average growth of women-owned firms across all industries.

The study goes on to point out that despite the decrease, women-owned Construction firms are making a high economic impact with greater than average revenue. In fact, 13% of women-owned Construction firms are generating $500,000 or more in revenue compared to 11% of all construction firms.

With organizations like NAWIC, Professional Women in Construction (PWC), and Women Construction Owners & Executives (WCOE) the impetus for change is growing and there is a greater focus on increasing the representation of women in Construction. There are also a rising number of events dedicated to educating and empowering Women in the Construction industry including:

Cosential is proud to highlight and congratulate Nicole Adewale, LEED AP, Principal and President of ABNA Engineering, Inc., who has successfully navigated the shifting dynamics of a traditionally male-dominated field.

Nicole-Adewale Nicole co-founded ABNA Engineering with husband Abe in 1994 with recognition that there was room for a new kind of company that brings innovative solutions to infrastructure issues in the Midwest.

Nicole and Abe created their company around a vision that a company could be honest, help clients solve problems, profitable, and provide opportunities for professional development while celebrating and honoring families. Prior to ABNA, Nicole worked for IDOT on projects of different sizes in Southern Illinois for seven (7) years. She holds a Civil Engineering degree from Georgia Tech and is a certified LEED® AP.

ABNA is consistently ranked among the Top 25 Engineering Firms by the St. Louis Business Journal (2001-2013) and for two years was honored as one of the Top 100 fastest growing Urban Companies in America by INC. Magazine (2005-2006). ABNA is licensed in multiple states to offer engineering and land surveying services.

While raising four young daughters, Nicole has worked vigorously to grow the two person firm to over 70 employees and offices in St. Louis, Chicago and Southern Illinois. Major accomplishments include Lambert Airport Expansion, New I-64, O’Hare Modernization, MSD Master Plan, SLPS, Hazelwood & UCity Bond Issue projects.

She acknowledges that success is a collaborative endeavor, saying, “To be a success in Construction, women need to build a good team! Your team should include supportive co-workers, a great spouse or circle of friends and your family. Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all on your own, having it all and doing it all often means being humble enough to ask for help.”

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