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Podcast | July 15, 2021

The 9%: Why Are Women So Underrepresented in the Industrial Workforce?

Women in Construction Talk about their experiences in the industry.

Thomas Insights
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While women comprise 47% of the American workforce, they represent only 9% of the construction workforce. Yet at Rosendin Electric, an employee-owned electrical contractor employing more than 7,000 team members, women represent 30% of the company’s staff on some projects, like the Atkina Renewable Power Project in Texas.

Headquartered in California, Rosendin is one of the largest electrical contractors in the United States. But while the firm’s focus on recruiting and retaining women is particularly unique for the construction sector, “it’s just the way that people live and coexist within Rosendin,” says Senior Safety Manager of East Coast Renewables Alison Elwell.

“It’s just that perfect balance, where we’re all bringing our own strengths to the table, where you almost don’t even notice that that’s what’s so strong about us as a group made up of 30% women,” Elwell says in reference to the Atkina Project. “It’s been a really, really empowering journey to be part of this group.”

In the latest episode of the Thomas Industry Update Podcast, Elwell speaks with podcast host and Vice President of Platform Growth & Engagement Cathy Ma about her experience working in the construction sector, especially on the diverse team at Rosendin.

Focusing on Communication and Culture

With such a massive team, communication and culture are certainly key elements behind Rosendin’s success.

“Something that Rosendin does really well,” Elwell says, “is to put the focus back on the people. I hear so often that… [a company’s] greatest value is its people. And instead of just [doing] that as an act, or focusing on that as a necessary part of mechanics inside of company operations, [companies need to] truly take ownership of that and value people as individuals. [That’s] the first step in a successful culture to try to grow or advance or to present new ideas.”

Companies aiming to enhance their corporate cultures and improve communication among their team members need to approach that cultural transformation in a genuine way for employees to get on board. “I think it does take a lot of work, but it can’t be forced,” she says. “It can’t be fake.”

At Rosendin, “it is a huge team mentality,” explains Elwell. “With our traveling teams, we eat together, we stay together, we travel together… It’s all about communication at that point, and it’s all about structure and putting your chess pieces where they both deserve to be and where they’re [strongest]. There’s no strong or weak position with a well-performing and well-functioning company. It’s just chess pieces. It’s whose best foot forward belongs in which shoe that fits, and that’s the kind of thing we give a lot of focus to at Rosendin.”

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About Rosendin

Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., Rosendin is employee-owned and one of the largest electrical contractors in the United States, employing over 7,500 people, with revenues averaging $2 billion. Established in 1919, Rosendin remains proud of our more than 100 years of building quality electrical and communications installations and value for our clients but, most importantly, for building people within our company and our communities. Our customers lead some of the most complex construction projects in history and rely on us for our knowledge, our ability to scale, and our dedication to quality. At Rosendin, we work to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential by building a culture that is diverse, safe, welcoming, and inclusive.

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Salina Brown

Director of Corporate Marketing
@mentions of Rosendin

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