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Diversity in Construction

Diversity and inclusion are part of the foundations of the construction industry. It may surprise you, given the misconceptions that still prevail, about just how varied, inclusive and diverse construction is. Old-fashioned and outdated values may persist in some quarters, but they are out of step with the reality.  

Discover the stories of the talented and skilled individuals who are doing so much to make a difference to diversity in the workplace and making the construction industry one in which everyone is welcome - regardless of gender, race, disability or sexual identification.

An industry for all: inclusion and equality in construction

Whatever background you are from, there is a place for you in the construction industry. A diverse workforce brings benefits for both the employee and employer. Find out about how the construction industry is embracing equality, diversity and inclusion.

Celebrating Black History Month: Ethnic diversity in construction

Black History Month takes place in October in the UK and has done so every year since 1987. It celebrates the contribution of black, Asian and ethnically diverse people in society, and highlights the challenges that people from these backgrounds have experienced and the achievements they have made in all walks of life. In October 2023 Black History Month in the UK is focusing on the achievements of black women under the theme of ‘Saluting our Sisters’.

Why is ethnic diversity so important to the construction industry?

It is estimated that less than 6% of people working in the construction industry are from a black, Asian or ethnically diverse background. This compares to around 14% of the UK working population, and in some areas of London, the non-White community accounts for 40% of the population. So it is clear that more needs to be done to increase the ethnic diversity of construction. The more diverse the workforce, the greater the construction industry will reflect society and the voices and experiences of people within it.

Customers, clients and suppliers will be able to identify more with companies whose employees have a greater ethnic diversity, or one more like their own. This is particularly true in cities and urban areas, where there is a higher non-White population and more construction work taking place. Employees from ethnic minorities are also more likely to want to work for a diverse and inclusive employer.

The importance of diversity and inclusion in the construction industry

The construction industry has made great progress in recent years to become more diverse and inclusive. An inclusive workplace is important because it encourages a greater range of voices to be heard and experiences shared and creates opportunities for a wider pool of talent in the industry. The construction industry should reflect the diversity of the general population.

The more inclusive and diverse the construction industry is, the more welcoming it will be for people from the LGBTQ+ and black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities, as well as encouraging applications from women and people with disabilities. There is still much to do. Women make up 15% of the workforce in the construction industry, but this number is still too low. Only 2% of construction employees currently identify as bisexual, gay or lesbian, whereas the LGBTQ+ community accounts for 3.2% of the UK population, based on a recent consensus.

Celebrating Pride in Construction

The construction industry takes huge pleasure in celebrating Pride Month. In the past, 1000s of builders have tied their boots with rainbow laces on construction sites across London, and LGBTQ+ employees take part in Pride celebrations all over the country.

Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace

There are a whole range of things that employers can do to encourage greater diversity, inclusion and equality in the construction industry. From ‘no bystander’ policies to unconscious bias training, companies have the power to make LGBTQ+ employees feel welcome, safe and valued within the workplace. 

According to Stonewall, around 35% of LGBTQ+ employees still feel they need to hide their gender identity or sexual orientation at work for fear of discrimination. That is why LGBTQ+ networks are so vital, both within individual companies and as collective organisations.

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