How Women in Roofing Can Grow The Industry

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Author: Amy Freeman | March 5, 2024

The roofing and construction industries have been traditionally male-dominated, with men performing much of the physical labor on roofs or owning companies outright. However, slowly but surely, the makeup of the industry is starting to change, led in large part by organizations designed to support women in roofing. As the demand for roofing continues to grow, women are expected to play a critical role in steering the industry toward the future.

Female standing in front of a Beacon location
Women play many roles in the roofing industry, from business owners to roofers and from sales professionals to marketing managers.

The Need for Women in Roofing

All told, the construction industry is expected to have more than 600,000 job openings per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Around 12,000 of those jobs will be for roofers.

Historically, women haven't had a large presence in the construction or roofing industry. About 10% of workers in the construction industry overall are women, and just 0.5% of roofing professionals in the U.S. are women. Yet women make up nearly half of the US workforce. Encouraging more women to enter the roofing and construction industries will help decrease labor shortages while increasing the diversity of the industries.

Roles in the Roofing Industry

While many roles in the roofing industry require physical labor and hard work, which can be a turn-off for some workers, not all do. Roles range from sales to accounting to marketing to business ownership. Traditionally, women in roofing have filled the "behind the scenes" roles, working in accounting, marketing or sales. Now, though, they are heading up to the roof to perform repairs or replacements. Or they're taking the lead as business owners.

Often, women who get into the roofing industry do so because they were burnt out in their original professions. That was the case for Sarah Ahrendt, who started out as a nurse but changed careers to work in sales for a roofing company. She now owns her own business. Working in roofing sales allowed her to help others, which was what initially attracted her to a career as a nurse.

Organizations to Support Women in Roofing

The growth and presence of women in roofing has been supported by organizations such as National Women in Roofing (NWiR) and the National Association of Women in Construction. Since its founding in 2014, NWiR has grown to more than 1,200 members and 30 councils across the country.

The mission of NWiR is to advance and support the careers of women roofing professionals in all occupations across the industry, from manufacturing through management. The organization provides opportunities for education, networking, mentoring and recruitment. One way it does so is during the annual NWiR Day, a conference for women professionals (and male allies) across the industry. During the conference, women share their lived experiences in the roofing industry. It also serves as a networking event, giving women roofing professionals the chance to connect with others in the field.

The Benefits of Working With Women Roofing Professionals

Diversity in the workforce is a good thing for all industries, not just the roofing industry. But roofing and construction, which have been traditionally male-dominated, may particularly benefit from welcoming more women professionals.

The more voices there are in a room and the more variety of opinions and experiences, the more room there is for creativity and streamlined problem-solving. And more viewpoints often lead to better results.

More diverse workforces also tend to attract more applicants. People want to work for companies that value diversity and inclusion and are more likely to apply for roles with organizations that are diverse.

Getting Started in the Roofing Industry

Women who are interested in joining the roofing industry may want to join NWiR, as the organization has many valuable educational resources for entry-level workers or women making a career change, such as a mentorship program and job postings. It also has a content library that covers topics including workplace safety, roofing materials and roof design.

As the roofing industry continues to grow, it will need to expand its hiring and welcome even more women professionals into the ranks. Getting involved with organizations that champion women in the industry is a good place to start.