When you think of construction, you may picture laborers at work on a job site or skilled tradesmen putting the finishing touches on a new home. It's likely that you imagine men in these roles—and that’s not necessarily because of bias on your part. Only 11% of workers in the construction industry identify as female, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
But construction jobs for women are on the rise. Between 2012 and 2021, the number of women working in construction rose by over 54%.
There are ample opportunities for women in this field that go far beyond traditional office roles.
Learn about the benefits of working in construction, the best construction jobs for women, how much you can earn, and the credentials you need to get hired.
Why Work in Construction?
If you’re a woman who’s interested in working in construction, you have a unique opportunity to break new ground. There are still relatively few women in construction, despite changing demographics in the industry.
There are plenty of reasons to get out in front of the trend, including the following:
The median annual pay for all construction occupations is $48,210, according to the BLS, higher than the median of $45,760 for all occupations.
The gender pay gap is also lower in construction jobs. Women’s median weekly earnings across all industries equaled 83% of men’s in 2021, per the BLS. In construction jobs, however, women earned 87.5 cents for every $1 earned by men in 2020.
Many construction jobs require only on-the-job training, an apprenticeship, or vocational training. Few demand a four-year degree, making construction jobs less expensive to train for than other jobs.
More than 17% of workers in construction jobs belonged to a union in 2021, compared to 10.3% of all wage and salary workers. Union jobs are more likely to offer job-related health care coverage and guaranteed pensions compared with non-union jobs, with medical care benefits available to 95% of private industry union workers.
They also pay more. Per the BLS, non-union workers earned a median weekly wage of $975 in 2021—just 83% of union workers’ median earnings of $1,169.
Best Construction Jobs for Women
Do you like working with your hands, solving problems, and experiencing the satisfaction that comes with having built something? If you’re physically strong, dexterous, and willing to work hard, you might find your next career in the construction industry.
Carpenters build and repair wooden structures including houses, buildings, scaffolding, and concrete forms for bridges. Depending on their specialty, carpenters may focus on construction, home remodeling, cabinetry, wood flooring, and more.
To excel in this job, you need manual dexterity, physical strength, problem-solving ability, business acumen, and math skills. Carpenters typically have a high school diploma or a GED and train on the job or through apprenticeship programs.
Median Annual Salary: $48,260
Construction Equipment Operator
These workers operate the equipment that moves heavy materials at construction sites and mines. Operators may learn on the job, at a vocational school, or through an apprenticeship program, which typically lasts three to four years.
Depending on state requirements, construction equipment operators may need a commercial driver’s license or a special license to operate a crane, backhoe, bulldozer, or loader.
Median Annual Salary: $48,290
Construction managers supervise construction projects from start to finish, preparing cost estimates, creating work schedules, explaining contracts, hiring subcontractors, delivering progress reports, and ensuring compliance with building codes. This is a great job for someone with problem-solving, leadership, analytical, and communication skills.
This is the highest paying job on our list and requires more education than other construction jobs. To get this job, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree in construction, engineering, or a related field, as well as prior experience in construction. You may also need to be licensed, depending on state requirements.
Median Annual Salary: $98,890
Elevator Installer and Repairer
These workers install, repair, and maintain elevators, mechanical lifts, escalators, and moving walkways. Elevator installers and repairers must be detail-oriented, mechanically inclined, physically strong—and not afraid of heights.
This job typically requires participation in a four-year apprenticeship program and licensure by the state in which you work. However, you can embark on your training with just a high school diploma or equivalent, making this a uniquely high-paying construction job that doesn’t require a college degree.
Median Annual Salary: $97,860
Electricians install, repair, and maintain wiring in homes, office buildings, and anywhere else there’s an electrical system. To be successful in this job, you need to have top-notch troubleshooting, critical thinking, and customer-service skills. It’s also important to have good color vision in order to differentiate between different colored wires.
To get this job, expect to participate in an apprenticeship program lasting four or five years. You will also need to pass an exam in order to be licensed and may have to participate in continuing education.
Median Annual Salary: $60,040
Plumbers install and repair water and gas pipes in homes and other buildings. To succeed in this role, you need excellent troubleshooting, mechanical, and communication skills, as well as physical strength. Expect to work odd hours: because repair work is often an emergency, plumbers frequently work evenings and weekends.
To become a plumber, you will likely need to complete an apprenticeship lasting four or five years. You may also need licensure, including a special license if you plan to work on gas lines.
Median Annual Salary: $59,880
Solar Photovoltaic Installer
These workers install and maintain solar panels on homes and businesses. PV installers design system configurations install support structures and test systems. They may also connect panels to the power grid, although some states require electricians to perform this work instead.
To become a PV installer, you will need a high school diploma or equivalent plus up to a year of on-the-job training. Some states also require licensure.
Median Annual Salary: $47,670
How To Get the Job
Assess your skills Consider the skills required for the careers that interest you and match your skill set.
Learn about requirements CareerOneStop offers information on job requirements, including apprenticeships, certifications, and training.
Gain experience Many construction careers offer on-the-job training.