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15 Best-Paying States for Women in Construction

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Female civil engineer
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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Construction Coverage.

The construction industry in the U.S. has no shortage of demand these days.

The intense real estate market of the last two-plus years highlighted the shortage of housing stock in the United States. Construction companies have been trying to catch up: earlier in 2022, housing starts reached their highest levels in more than 15 years. Meanwhile, funds from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed in 2021 are now working their way to contractors and construction businesses. While increased costs for labor and materials, rising interest rates, and recession fears are causing concern in the industry, the long-term outlook for the field is promising.

These recent trends could continue an upward trajectory for construction spending in the U.S. The construction industry faced lean years after the Great Recession, but has grown steadily since. Annual spending in the sector fell by more than a third from a peak of $1.21 trillion in 2006 to $758 billion in 2011. But over the ensuing decade, spending more than doubled. As of June 2022, construction spending in the U.S. totaled $1.76 trillion per year.

But with high demand in the field, construction companies have struggled to find enough labor to meet their needs. Associated Builders and Contractors, an industry trade association, estimates that the field will face a total shortage of 650,000 workers in 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 334,000 openings for construction jobs as of June.

And in the search for construction labor, the industry is increasingly drawing on a segment of the population that has historically been underrepresented in the field: women.

Women Working in Construction

Female construction worker
Cineberg / Shutterstock.com

Women still represent a significant minority of the field’s workforce, but the ranks of women construction workers have grown in recent decades. In the 1960s, only around 6% of construction workers were women. This figure had doubled by the early 1990s, and after remaining flat for much of the 1990s and 2000s, the share of women in construction-specific occupations has been trending upward again in the years since the Great Recession. Today, more than 14% of construction workers are women.

However, women’s presence in the field of construction varies by specific occupation. Nearly 1 in 10 painters and paperhangers are women, and women also represent 7.4% of solar and photovoltaic installers — one of the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. But in some other construction roles like cement masons, boilermakers, and brickmasons, women still represent less than 1% of the workforce.

One reason why women have become a larger part of the construction workforce is compensation. The median wage for women construction workers exceeds the median wage for all women in 43 states. And some locations are especially favorable for women construction workers, including 11 states where the cost-of-living-adjusted median wage tops $50,000 for women in the field.

To find the best-paying states for women in construction, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Researchers at Construction Coverage ranked states according to the median annual wage for women in the construction industry, adjusted for cost of living. Researchers also calculated the median annual wage for women in all occupations and the share of construction industry employment accounted for by women.

Here are the best-paying states for women in construction.

15. Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia
ImagineerInc / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $48,762
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $49,239
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $49,098
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 11.2%

14. New Jersey

Middlesex, New Jersey
Oleh Korotkov / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $48,927
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $54,389
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $55,118
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 9.3%

13. New York

Syracuse New York Homes
Khairil Azhar Junos / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $49,118
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $54,134
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $52,786
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 9.2%

12. Iowa

Sheldon, Iowa
Joel McCartan / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $49,186
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $44,782
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $41,420
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 9.2%

11. Hawaii

Honolulu City neighborhood
Real Window Creative / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $50,018
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $56,013
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $45,467
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 11.8%

10. Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $50,139
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $53,384
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $56,863
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 11.6%

9. Montana

Montana town
Nick Fox / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $50,545
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $46,725
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $38,405
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 9.8%

8. Minnesota

Apartments in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sam Wagner / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $50,773
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $50,075
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $49,047
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 9.6%

7. Illinois

Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $50,879
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $51,121
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $47,170
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 9.8%

6. Connecticut

Bridgeport, Connecticut
Wendell Guy / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $51,599
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $53,373
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $55,737
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 8.8%

5. West Virginia

David Byron Keener / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $52,795
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $46,438
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $36,219
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 9.4%

4. Washington

Bremerton, Washington
Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $53,413
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $57,344
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $51,132
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 12.0%

3. Vermont

Lake Memphremagog in Newport, Vermont
NEKVT / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $54,697
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $54,340
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $45,734
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 9.7%

2. Massachusetts

Fore River Bridge in Quincy, Massachusetts
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $55,225
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $59,335
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $57,913
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 9.3%

1. Alaska

Sitka, Alaska waterfront, mountains in background.
Marc Cappelletti / Shutterstock.com
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (adjusted): $59,681
  • Median annual wage for women in the construction industry (actual): $61,614
  • Median annual wage for women in all occupations (actual): $51,541
  • Female share of total construction industry employment: 12.4%

Detailed Findings & Methodology

Worker on the road in a construction hat
Mark Agnor / Shutterstock.com

To find the best-paying states for women in construction, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey and cost-of-living data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s 2020 Regional Price Parities dataset. Researchers at Construction Coverage ranked states according to the median annual wage for women in the construction industry, adjusted for cost of living. Researchers also calculated the median annual wage for women in all occupations and the female share of total construction industry employment.



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