Building a diverse engineering and construction industry: Public and private sector retention of women in the civil engineering workforce

Julie A. Maurer, Donwe Choi, Hyungjo Hur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The gender gap in the construction and engineering workforce persists, despite efforts to close it over the past several decades. Increasing gender diversity is a critical strategy for strengthening the supply of engineering professionals required to meet current and future demand in both public and private sectors. This study evaluates major demographic trends in the civil engineering workforce during the past decade with an emphasis on gender diversity. We also examine trends affecting the retention of female supervisors by examining job turnover in both public and private sectors. We found that female civil engineers are underrepresented in supervisory positions as compared to their representation in the workforce overall. They are also much more likely to leave their jobs than male supervisors. Their departure rate is higher in the private sector than in the public sector. These results illustrate the advancement challenges that women encounter on their career paths, and the consequences of these barriers - namely, less gender diversity in the pool of civil engineers available to meet growing demand in the construction industry, and fewer women available for promotion into leadership positions. The findings of this study will be beneficial to managers and other stakeholders working to diversify the construction industry workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04021028-1
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021 Jul 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Diversity
  • Engineering and construction industry
  • Turnover

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