Pay it Forward – Inspiring the Next Generation of Industry Talent

Originally posted by Erica Lockwood as a guest blogger on Meredith Consulting’s website, March 22, 2018.

As we emerge from last week’s “Women In Construction Week” along with the observance of “International Women’s Day”, it seems quite fitting to address not only the lack of female talent present within the industry today but certainly the overall people shortage being experienced across the country. It’s a real conversation that I have just about daily with industry leaders. Reality is this is not a situation that will change overnight. But, I believe it can be transformed with focus and intention.

Recent statistics have revealed that less than 15% of the total construction industry is made up of women. While a predominantly male dominated industry, I am a believer that with the right outreach and education, we could do much more to encourage young women to consider our industry as an exciting and viable career option. The opportunities are endless and having a concerted effort to make sure young women who are considering career possibilities hear this message is vital.

I have observed a recent trend within a handful of companies where women have been promoted into leadership roles. For example, Taylor Morrison Homes has impressed me with the career advancements and the openness to provide not only leadership roles but also entry level opportunities to women in the workforce. A recent post by Taylor Morrison stated, “women make up 49 percent of our workforce, 30 percent of our executive team and Taylor Morrison is the only publicly traded homebuilder led by a woman chairman and CEO.” Talk about inspiring women to see the possibilities! Way to go Sheryl Palmer for leading that vision!

I perceive mentoring opportunities as one of the most viable avenues for awareness and outreach. Local home builder associations are typically quite involved with a variety of educational outreach programs, for instance, Junior Achievement. This program creates opportunity for discussions geared toward elementary, junior high and high school students, creating interest and spurring curiosity. I encourage our industry to be keenly focused on education and mentorship of our future leaders – young men and women alike.

Although this week had much to celebrate it also felt a huge loss as we learned of Bill Pulte’s passing. Mr. Pulte was a mentor to so many. He inspired creativity, growth and vision to so many of today’s leading industry professionals along with some of the most forward-thinking and impactful entrepreneurs I know. If each one of us might consider paying it forward in honor of Bill Pulte, we may just reach some of tomorrow’s most amazing and creative men and women industry leaders. We can all make an impact – one young person at a time!