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Why are tradeswomen leaving the construction industry: An Exploratory Study

9 pagesPublished: December 11, 2023


The construction industry in the United States is currently undergoing historic shortage of skilled workforce. Several research studies have suggested to attract, recruit, and retain women in construction trades to address some of the workforce shortages in the future and also to improve jobsite productivity. Despite undertaking efforts in this direction to improve recruitment and retention of women in trades, it is observed that several women either left or considered leaving construction trades at some point in their careers. Previous studies focused on issues specific to women in administrative, managerial and leadership roles, however there is very limited knowledge relevant to issues of tradeswomen. This study exclusively focuses on tradeswomen and investigates the causes that influences tradeswomen to leave the construction industry with an intent to develop recommendations to improve their retention. To achieve the objectives, this study conducted twelve qualitative interviews with tradeswomen working in a variety of trades. The study identified important factors such as male dominant culture, inadequate attention from employers regarding tradeswomen issues, workplace and sexual harassment, discrimination such as pay imbalances, improper facilities, and misfit PPE Furthermore, recommendations for employers and industry organization were provided to improve tradeswomen retention. Understanding tradeswomen challenges helps improve their retention thereby improving the diversity in construction industry and contributes to the success of tradeswomen.

Keyphrases: tradeswomen challenges, tradeswomen retention, Women in Construction

In: Tom Leathem, Wesley Collins and Anthony J. Perrenoud (editors). Proceedings of 59th Annual Associated Schools of Construction International Conference, vol 4, pages 444--452

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Manideep Tummalapudi and Ninad Doke and David Gunderson and Vijayeta Malla},
  title     = {Why are tradeswomen leaving the construction industry: An Exploratory Study},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of 59th Annual Associated Schools of Construction International Conference},
  editor    = {Tom Leathem and Wes Collins and Anthony Perrenoud},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Built Environment},
  volume    = {4},
  pages     = {444--452},
  year      = {2023},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2632-881X},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/v926}}
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