February 2022


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Why Prioritize Smart Women For A Smarter Building Future

Melissa Boutwell, Panelist

President, Automation Strategy & Performance

Chairman, Emerging Technologies Apprenticeship Program



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Why is it so important to get Smart Women into the Smart Building industry?

Women are increasingly the decision-making customer. The percentage of women holding procurement decision-making positions is rising among our Smart Building end-customer audience.  

Consider these facts: women occupy 24% of decision-making management roles in facilities. Women occupy 26% of the CFO decision-making spots often the upstream chain of command for facilities managers.   These important roles drive strategy and priorities influencing Smart Building decision-making.

This trend is likely to accelerate with 40% of current midlevel management positions being held by women who are on track to performing C-Suite roles in the future.

Plus, there is no shortage of women! 

We are holding steady at 50% of the population, building occupants, and workforce.

Women are an important audience for our Smart Buildings industry. 

What is the composition of women in our workforce by comparison? 

There is a huge gap and a powerful opportunity for our industry. 

Only 3 of 100 field technical roles are occupied by women.  Often, the most valuable and influential role is the client-facing field-level service specialist who communicates directly with the end-customer at their point of need.  This position often influences a luke-warm vs a raving-fan relationship for the system integration team. On-site field technical occupations are the most voluminous. 

Off-site technical engineering roles report in with better numbers showing that 11 of 100 jobs are filled by women in these occupations. These positions impact design and influence procurement planning with the end customer.  

Women are underrepresented in these key roles across our industry compared to our end-customer.  There is a great opportunity for all of us if we strengthen these valuable touchpoints across our industry.

Are women choosing “TECH” careers overall? 

Today, women represent 25% of the IT/Computer workforce, 15% of the engineering workforce, and 27% of the total STEM workforce.  

The most worrisome trend is that fewer women are choosing to work in Tech or computer science occupations between 1990 and 2020.   This trend will not reverse quickly. Research indicates that 73% of young women have stated they would not consider a career in technology and only 3% considered a career in technology as their first choice.  

Even though research indicates women in Tech careers earn higher average salaries than women in non-technical occupations, salary is not influencing career decisions in our direction.

The war of attention begins early and tuning our message to this audience is critical.

Which occupations, if prioritized, can make the most impact on our industry?

Three occupations offer the most opportunity and evidence of early success. These occupations include entry-level field specialists, systems designers, and project specialists.  

Our task is to attract and equip women to enter these occupations and be successful. There are valuable lessons learned that can help companies replicate early successes in attracting and developing Smart Women for Smart Building careers.  

Moving the needle to fill these persistently vacant positions will make the greatest impact on our industry.  

How does hiring more women also help the men of our industry? 

The average age of our experts is 58 years old.  There is a lot of wisdom exiting our industry.  We need strong succession planning today. We needed it 10 years ago.

Solid succession plans are threatened by the tight and volatile labor conditions we face today.

Our best middle layer experts are “stuck” because they haven’t replaced themselves and companies are too dependent on them in their current role.   This makes our best people prime targets for recruiters from other industries who recognize and value our skills.

Strong pipelines of new talent are needed right now!  

How do we do that? 

How do we get Smart Women into the Smart Building industry today?


Join our AHR Session to learn more!

Attend our AHR session 

Title: Smart Women, Smarter Buildings 

When: Tuesday, February 1, 2:00 - 3:00 pm

Where: Room N239

Melissa Boutwell



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