It’s Friday evening and a group of young women dance to pulsating beats at a local Zumba class. Besides providing a great workout, the class helps them let off steam and release some of the stress accrued from a week of college classes and studio work. These women are busy working toward a career that utilizes their communication, leadership, organization, design, and technology skills. They are the next generation of construction management professionals.
“I have built strong friendships with some of the women in my construction management classes,” says Fope Bademosi, a graduate student at University of Florida. “We support each other by organizing study and dissertation writing sessions. I also appreciate all the support I have received from male professors and peers in my classes. They always make me feel like an equal in this industry.”
No doubt about it, the construction industry has changed significantly over the past 20 years, and continues to do so at increasing speed. Technology is one of the main catalysts of this change. And because it is opening new doors for careers beyond physical labor, we’re seeing an exciting influx of a younger, more diverse workforce.
“When I started my studies over 20 years ago, only 7 percent of construction management students were female. Now it is almost 30 percent. I’m seeing the same trend happening in the industry,” says Dr. Henriette Strotmann, professor of science and engineering at FH Münster University of Applied Sciences, Germany.