Diversity within the Construction Industry – The Long Road Ahead

Recruitment in the Construction Industry

As a recruitment agency in the Built Environment, we are noticing a much-welcomed positive shift towards hiring more diverse talent in the Construction Industry. According to website  Go Construct;

‘Leading industry figures are placing equality at the heart of their business. Employers are looking for ways to create an inclusive workplace in order to attract new talent, ensure staff are happy and committed, and improve productivity. What’s more, some of the industry’s biggest customers choose to hire construction companies because they have staff from a wide range of backgrounds… More than ever, construction companies are demanding talent from diverse groups to ensure the industry sees positive changes in working culture for many years to come’ 

There are however over 2 million individuals in various roles within the construction industry in the UK, making it one of the largest sectors of employment in the country. Changing the face of such a machine will not happen overnight, and some of the statistics from the CIOB prove that there is still a way to go; 

  • Women make up 15 per cent of the UK construction industry, with approximately 2 per cent working on-site 
  • BAME employees make up 6 per cent of the workforce 
  • Disabled employees also make up 6 per cent of the workforce 
  • 60 per cent of LGBTQ+ employees have experienced homophobic and derogatory terms at work 

While the attitude towards diversity is certainly changing for the better, the large proportion of white males in the construction industry does unfortunately lend itself to unconscious bias, and can create a particular culture in the workplace that can leave certain groups of people feeling uncomfortable and unwelcome.  There are reports for example, of non-male toilets being locked, and workers needing to ask for a key from a male supervisor because the space is being used to store equipment. Furthermore, employees from minorities have experienced a lack of inclusion in conversations and have cited that concerns about diversity have not been taken seriously.

What can be done to improve diversity in the Construction Industry? 

Clients who make their expectations clear on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at procurement stage, will help to set the right tone for creating inclusive sites and ways of working. The change needs to start with leadership. The construction industry giants have huge potential to influence others through their own inclusive, supportive, and respectful behaviour. It has a knock-on effect, as increased training and awareness for EDI has been linked with positive behaviour and cultural change.

There are huge benefits to improving diversity within the construction industry; A diverse culture encourages new ideas and a wider perspective on projects and challenges. It makes the industry more representative of its customers and the rest of society, and will inspire more talented individuals to apply to be a part of it. The built environment is for everyone and the more inclusive the industry can become, the more it will serve the needs of our communities.

If you are looking to hire in the construction industry, and want to discuss anything related to this article and EDI, then get in touch with one of the team at Fourblue. 01892 234999 team@fourblue.com