How to Dispel the Myth of Recruiting Bossy Women for Construction Jobs

According to OSHA, only nine percent of people working in construction in the U.S. are women. This includes managerial, professional, and administrative positions.

Has anyone parsed the data to determine the number of women who are deemed “bossy?”

The ‘Ban Bossy’ campaign initiated by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg looks to prevent stereotypes of women in business. The following mindsets, attitudes, and beliefs are present in large and small organizations every day:

  • Men are leaders while women are community builders (nurturers).
  • Men are assertive communicators while women are timid.
  • Men are self-confident while women second guess their abilities.
  • Men are bosses while women are bossy.

Representatives of the construction, architecture, and engineering sectors have been working alongside government officials and educators to address another stereotype that’s keeping the talent pool of women at disgraceful numbers. There are ongoing efforts across the U.S. to encourage young women in high school and college to enter science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.

The reality is that these core competencies are largely ignored by many young ladies who claim they “aren’t good in math.” But it’s so much more than that.  In a male-dominated field like construction, the risk of being dubbed “bossy” by male colleagues is just another deal breaker.

Recruiters are on the front lines of the gender disparity in our industry. What role—if any—does recruiter bias play in hindering women in construction?

What other deal-breaking biases and behaviors do recruiters bring to the hiring process that keeps the talent pool of women so minuscule?

A Solution?

Here’s a resource that may help close the gender disparity in construction and lead you to passive talent.

Resourceful recruiters have been poking around the websites and social media channels of professional associations. Associations are based on industry and niche, making them ripe with talent. The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is one of many such organizations.

“The associations can serve as a connection point for sourcers and recruiters who need to network with candidates who may not have an online presence,” writes consultant Mark Tortorici, founder of Transform Talent Acquisition. One of the first steps Tortorici suggests is to search LinkedIn for members of a specific group.

Granted, finding passive talent in professional organizations won’t stop the spread of the ‘bossy women syndrome’ in business.

Recruiters and employers alike must be more aware of their own biases when screening talent.

Nine percent of women in construction is unacceptable.

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