The 15 Best Paying States for Women in Construction

Female Civil Engineer
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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Construction Coverage.

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

The intense real estate market of the past two-plus years has highlighted the shortage of housing stock in the United States. Construction companies are trying to achieve their progress. In early 2022, housing starts reached their highest level in 15 years. Meanwhile, funds from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed in 2021 are now working for contractors and construction businesses. While rising labor and material costs, rising interest rates and fears of a recession are causing concern in the industry, the long-term outlook for the industry is promising.

These latest trends could continue the upward trajectory of construction spending in the U.S. The construction industry faced some down years after the Great Recession, but has seen steady growth since then. Annual expenses of the sector decreased by more than a third in 2006. From a peak of $1.21 trillion to $758 billion in 2011. But over the next decade, costs more than doubled. As of June 2022, construction spending in the United States was $1.76 trillion annually.

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

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

Women working in the construction industry

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

However, the presence of women in construction varies by occupation. Nearly 1 in 10 painters and paperhangers are women, and women also make up 7.4% of solar and photovoltaic installers, one of the fastest-growing occupations in the US. less than 1% of the workforce.

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

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

Here are the top paying states for women in construction:

15. Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia
ImagineerInc / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $48,762
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $49,239
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $49098
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 11.2%

14. New Jersey

Middlesex, New Jersey
Oleh Korotkov / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $48,927
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $54,389
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $55,118
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 9.3%

13. New York

Syracuse New York Homes
Khairil Azhar Yunos / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $49,118
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $54,134
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $52786
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 9.2%

12. Iowa

Sheldon, Iowa
Joel McCartan / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $49186
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $44,782
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $41,420
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 9.2%

11. Hawaii

A neighborhood in the city of Honolulu
Real Window Creative / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $50,018
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $56013
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $45,467
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 11.8%

10. Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland
Sean Pavon / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $50,139
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $53,384
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $56,863
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 11.6%

9. Montana

Montana City
Nick Fox / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $50,545
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $46725
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $38,405
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 9.8%

8. Minnesota

Apartments in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sam Wagner / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $50773
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $50075
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $49047
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 9.6%

7. Illinois

Steve Kukrov / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $50,879
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $51121
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $47170
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 9.8%

6. Connecticut

Bridgeport, Connecticut
Wendell Guy / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $51,599
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $53,373
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $55737
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 8.8%

5. West Virginia

David Byron Keener / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $52,795
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $46,438
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): 36219 dollars
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 9.4%

4. Washington

Bremerton, Washington
Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $53,413
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $57,344
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $51,132
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 12.0%

3. Vermont

Memphremagog Lake in Newport, Vermont
NEKVT / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $54,697
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $54,340
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $45734
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 9.7%

2. Massachusetts

Fore River Bridge in Quincy, Massachusetts
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $55,225
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $59,335
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $57,913
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 9.3%

1. Alaska

Sitka, Alaska coast, mountains in background.
Mark Capelletti / Shutterstock.com
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (adjusted): $59681
  • Average annual salary of women in the construction industry (actual). $61614
  • Average annual salary of women in all professions (actual): $51,541
  • Women’s share of total employment in construction. 12.4%

Detailed findings and methodology

With a working construction hat on the road
Marc Agnor / Shutterstock.com

To find the best-paying states for women in construction, Construction Coverage researchers analyzed data from the US Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey and the US Bureau of Economic Analysis’ 2020 Regional Price Proportional Database. Researchers at Construction Coverage ranked the states according to the median annual salary for women in construction, adjusted for the cost of living. The researchers also calculated the average annual salary for women in all occupations and the share of women in total construction employment.

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