This year’s cohort has picked up where previous groups left off – taking on creative ideas to solve both historic and emerging challenges.
By Sara Parkman
ElevateHER was founded by Zweig Group as part of its commitment to embrace, promote, and ensure equal opportunities for everyone in the AEC industry, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.
Many women in the AEC industry face obstacles that could result in an early exit from the industry. For instance, representation for women in engineering is not only lacking, but it trails the rest of the pipeline. Women hold only 34 percent of entry-level engineering and just 26 percent of first-level manager positions, compared to 48 percent of entry-level roles and 41 percent of first-level manager positions in the pipeline overall, according to data from McKinsey. Additionally, female principals make on average $25,000 less in annual base salary than their male counterparts, and their overall total compensation is 30 percent less. Female principals are twice as likely as male principals to say their career has not matched up to their goals.
To address these issues, Zweig Group assembled a cohort of AEC professionals from around the country. They met at the program kickoff in Spring 2022, and since then, they have been working on smaller project groups on self-chosen topics, creating a focused deliverable that will be shared with the rest of the industry at Zweig Group’s ElevateHER Symposium in September. Project topics run the gamut and include methods to support individuals in the industry at all stages and phases of their life, addressing conflict and implicit biases, designing career paths, awarding and incentivizing diverse projects and firms, and much more.
The group topics are as follows:
- Empower Space. Self-advocacy, confidence, and assertiveness are meaningful tools that everyone can use to become an active contributor to their own success and increase their job satisfaction. Unfortunately, the opportunities to learn these skills are not evenly distributed in the workforce. By creating an easily accessible space that is curated to address common issues and provides opportunity for mentorship, more people can learn to speak up.
- Breaking Bias. Awareness goes beyond an organization and becomes a global movement of #breakingbias. Using social media, people can share their stories, inspire change, and support each other. Together we can do the work to break the bias.
- WELL Engaged. A confluence of factors is impacting our AEC workforce. Recruiting, retaining, and taking care of people is more challenging now than ever before. This issue shows no sign of letting up and likely will continue to influence our industry. This group believes wellness is a sound way of thinking about and addressing these challenges.
- TeacHER. Many AEC firms are struggling to hire due to a shrinking workforce. There is a lack of awareness and interest about the AEC field in K-12 students. This group aims to combat this challenge by creating resources for AEC professionals to go out into K-12 classrooms and after-school programs and get students excited about the opportunities in the AEC industry.
- We Are AEC. Using imagery, We Are AEC will expand the awareness of the AEC industry within the general public and reinforce the premise that people from many different walks of life can find fulfillment within these careers.
By serving as an advisor and a hub of information and resources, the ElevateHER movement aims to bring us together to "elevate the industry." Zweig Group believes that with inclusion and strategic steps, we can work together to advance the future of firms across the United States because we believe that diversity brings about positive change. ElevateHER is an initiative to better the future of the AEC industry. Join Zweig Group and the 2022 ElevateHER cohort as they present at the first-ever in-person ElevateHER Symposium in Las Vegas on September 14, 2022.
2022 ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala Registration is open for the annual in-person conference in Las Vegas, September 14-16. Celebrate the iconic black-tie awards gala 2022 winners of the Hot Firm list, Best Firms To Work For, Marketing Excellence, Rising Stars, Top New Ventures and the Jerry Allen Courage In Leadership Awards. Register now for the AEC industry’s top in-person learning and networking event of the year!