Marylou Errico doesn't understand why there aren't more women working in concrete. The people are friendly, the pay is great, and you're not stuck at a desk all day. So what's wrong with this picture?
Construction is a secret that women don't know about, and Errico and her company, Allied Building Products Corp., are trying to change that. Errico has been an outside sales representative at the building materials distributor in Rochester, N.Y., for seven years. “Why are there are only three women doing what I'm doing in all of New York State?” she asks.
Errico has been surrounded by the construction business almost all her life. “When I was growing up, all the neighbors had some kind of construction business, whether it was site, concrete, or masonry,” she explains. “I always loved the big equipment. I still do, only now, every once in awhile, I get to ride along.”
Spreading the word
Errico wants other women to have as much fun as she does. She visits local high schools and community colleges to tell students about a construction career's advantages. She reminds students that a career in concrete construction is more than just being a laborer or a flag person, although these jobs are also important. This world also includes architects, engineers, project managers, sales people, accountants, truck drivers, and dispatchers.
Women are not aware of the opportunities that concrete construction offers, according to Mike Brigida, Allied branch manager and Errico's supervisor.
Allied keeps women in mind when it recruits for open positions. But at schools, women who show talent in math and the sciences are being directed into the medical or scientific fields. Construction is never mentioned as an option. “We are only getting half of the audience when we are interviewing for a position,” he says. “We know that women can be as good as or better than men in these positions, but they aren't out there applying for the jobs. We want more options and more diversity in our workplace.”
It might be women's own fault for not considering construction. “Perhaps, women are guilty of stereotyping the job and don't consider it as a possible career,” he says.
Although recruiters carefully explain exactly what a position entails so there are no misconceptions, preconceived notions remain.
“Women in Concrete” brings you stories about women who are making a difference in the concrete industry. Each month we will bring you profiles, studies, or surveys to show you the latest on women in the concrete industry.
Visit the Women in Concrete page for more columns, information on our LinkedIn group, and additional resources.
THE CONCRETE PRODUCER and CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION magazines want to help erase misconceptions about women in the workplace by gathering every resource we can. Let me know about Web sites that educate our youth about construction opportunities and that support women currently working in construction.
We will start by compiling a list of what helps you sell the industry to girls in high school and college. Please e-mail your sources to me. I'll share my list with you so you can be like Errico and also visit high schools, trade schools, junior colleges, and job fairs to recruit women to work in concrete. We need to work together to get the word out.