An analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey data by the New York Building Congress (NYBC) shows New York City's construction workforce could do more to recruit and mentor women and underrepresented groups, according to www.constructiondive.com.
In 2016, the share of white, non-Hispanic workers in the city's construction workforce—40 percent—increased, while the percentage of Hispanics—36 percent—decreased. The share of women—7.6 percent—was unchanged. The number of total non-white workers decreased more than 2 percent to 60 percent in 2016, but the number of those who self-identify as black increased slightly to 14 percent.
According to the NYBC analysis, 56 percent of New York City's construction workers earn less than $50,000 annually, and 45 percent had no health insurance; nearly all workers without health insurance are blue collar workers.
The construction industry's struggle to recruit and maintain underrepresented demographics, particularly women and people of color, is not a new issue. Women comprise less than 9 percent of the industry and often are discouraged from seeking a job in construction or staying in the industry because of the potential for an unwelcoming environment or a lack of effort to protect them on the job site.
Certain steps could be taken to recruit Hispanic workers, such as increasing efforts to maintain bilingual superintendents and foremen. Spanish-language based training and certification programs reportedly also could encourage more Hispanic workers to pursue employment in the construction industry, move into leadership roles or own their own companies.