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Cities With the Most Women in Construction

Construction has long been a male-dominated field. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 13 percent of payroll employees in the construction industry are women—a number that has remained relatively stagnant since the 1990s. When also taking into account self-employed workers, the proportion is even lower, at just 10.3 percent. Despite the gender gap in employment, some job functions and locations offer better opportunities for women seeking a career in the construction industry.

Chart1 Female to male ratio has remained flat in construction industry

Nationwide, there are over 1.1 million women working in construction, compared to 9.9 million men. In addition to differences in total employment, men and women tend to fill different occupations within the industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women who work in construction are most likely to work in office or administrative positions. By contrast, men have much higher representation in roles related to finance, transportation, construction, extraction, and maintenance.

Chart2 Women in construction are most likely to work in office positions

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A major benefit for women in the construction industry is that they tend to command higher wages than female workers in other fields. The median full-time wage for women in construction is $46,808 per year, compared to $43,394 for female workers across all industries. Interestingly, the opposite is true for men in construction, who generally earn less than the typical male worker. In addition, men and women in the construction industry report relatively equal pay. While the national gender pay gap across all industries is 19 percent, the gender pay gap in construction is only 3.7 percent.

Chart3 Female workers earn more in construction than other industries

Although only 10.3 percent of workers in the construction industry are women, some parts of the country have much stronger female representation. To find which cities have the most women in construction, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed employment data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. Researchers ranked cities based on the female employment share in the construction industry. In the final rankings, cities were categorized by population size: small (100,000–149,999), midsize (150,000–349,999), and large (350,000 or more).

Most of the cities on the list are concentrated in the South or the West, with some representation in the Midwest and little in the Northeast. Here are the cities with the most women in construction.

Chart4 Small and midsize cities with the most women in construction

Large cities with the most women in the construction industry

20 Ohio Columbus KH4JT5
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20. Columbus, OH

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 11.7%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 2,395
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 18,139
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $40,913

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19 Colorado Denver state capitol PGHMR2 scaled
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19. Denver, CO

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 11.8%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 3,636
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 27,277
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $49,437

18 Texas Austin DJN886
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18. Austin, TX

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 11.8%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 4,650
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 34,688
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $40,595

17 Louisiana New Orleans G6NFHY
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17. New Orleans, LA

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 11.9%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 1,143
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 8,433
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $37,300

16 Kentucky Louisville KHJR3C
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16. Louisville, KY

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 12.1%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 1,932
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 13,971
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $46,560

15 Maryland Baltimore GYFB3E
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15. Baltimore, MD

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 12.3%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 1,577
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 11,201
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $50,740

14 Oregon Portland P7GG4Y
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14. Portland, OR

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 13.0%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 1,897
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 12,703
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $63,892

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13 Missouri Kansas City PTNJGN
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13. Kansas City, MO

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 13.1%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 1,760
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 11,630
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $41,742

12 Florida Tampa EE4CHC
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12. Tampa, FL

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 13.3%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 2,015
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 13,135
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $49,938

11 California San Diego KKYDGW
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11. San Diego, CA

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 13.3%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 4,270
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 27,919
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $53,990

10 Kansas Wichita J222PW
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10. Wichita, KS

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 13.4%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 1,855
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 12,011
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $40,067

09 North Carolina Charlotte FC0BCK
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9. Charlotte, NC

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 13.6%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 4,747
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 30,113
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $36,988

08 Texas El Paso M1358Y
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8. El Paso, TX

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 14.1%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 2,968
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 18,044
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $35,710

07 Georgia Atlanta EEX7HJ
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7. Atlanta, GA

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 14.6%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 885
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 5,158
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $44,346

06 Colorado Colorado Springs F3YX3G
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6. Colorado Springs, CO

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 15.4%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 2,743
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 15,037
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $55,363

05 Virginia Virginia Beach KF1X91
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5. Virginia Beach, VA

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 15.5%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 2,187
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 11,891
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $52,325

04 District of Columbia EP3YA6
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4. Washington, DC

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 16.1%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 1,831
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 9,517
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $52,035

03 California San Francisco D9XX89
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3. San Francisco, CA

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 17.0%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 2,985
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 14,590
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $70,711

02 Washington Seattle EBPD1F
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2. Seattle, WA

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 17.6%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 2,697
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 12,664
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $70,966

01 Minnesota Minneapolis GTFB1H
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1. Minneapolis, MN

  • Female employment share in the construction industry: 19.1%
  • Total female employment in the construction industry: 1,298
  • Total male employment in the construction industry: 5,495
  • Median earnings for full-time workers in the construction industry: $54,521

Methodology & detailed findings

While the share of women in construction has remained relatively flat over the past 30 years, a number of industry trends could increase their representation in the future.

Research from Deloitte’s 2020 Engineering and Construction Industry Outlook report shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the importance of efficient project management, which could create more demand for the administrative and management jobs in construction that women have historically been more likely to fill.

Additionally, a recent survey shows that only 3 percent of young adults ages 18 to 25 are interested in pursuing a construction-related career. The ensuing short supply of labor will likely drive up wages for construction-related careers, making the industry more appealing for women in general. This combination of factors suggests that there could be strong opportunities for women in construction looking ahead.

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau 2019 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. The female employment share in the construction industry was calculated by dividing the total number of female workers in construction by the total number of male and female workers in construction. The statistics include the civilian employed population (full-time and part-time) 16 years and over. The median earnings statistics shown include all men and women, but are for the full-time civilian employed population 16 years and over only.

Locations were ordered by the female employment share in the construction industry. In the event of a tie, the location with the larger number of total female workers in construction was ranked higher. Only cities with at least 100,000 residents and available data from the Census Bureau were included. Additionally, cities were grouped into the following population cohorts: small (100,000–149,999), midsize (150,000–349,999), and large (350,000 or more).

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