The UK construction industry has long had a reputation of being mostly made up of white male workers. Underrepresented groups, like women, for example, make up only 9% of the sector’s workforce. Meanwhile, data released by the government in July 2022 shows that only 3.5% of construction workers are Black, 3.1% identified as Pakistani or Bangladeshi, and 2.7% are Indian.
Why Construction Needs to Step Up With Diversity & Inclusion
As the construction industry recovers from the pandemic, now is the perfect time to consider how you can make your business more diverse and inclusive. Here’s why diversity and inclusion should be a core part of your business strategy.
1. Improved Recruitment and Retention
Many construction businesses depend on word-of-mouth to attract new talent. But as the industry continues to struggle with an ageing workforce and a shortage of skilled labour, organisations are increasingly competing for top talent.
One way to set your firm apart from the competition is to commit to improving diversity and inclusion in your workforce. By creating an inclusive culture in the workplace, you can improve your recruitment efforts and retain your best people.
2. Enhanced Creativity and Innovation
Construction is an ever-evolving industry, meaning that businesses must continuously innovate to stay ahead of the curve. One way to encourage creativity and innovation at your firm is to create a diverse and inclusive environment where all voices are heard and valued.
When employees feel like they belong, they are more likely to share their unique perspectives and ideas, which can lead to breakthroughs in both process and product innovation.
3. Greater Client Satisfaction
Rising consumer demand for companies to support diversity and inclusion has led buyer-based clients in the construction industry to be more mindful of the makeup of their workforces. For example, nine firms in the industry, among them names like Costain and Dodd Group, signed up for the Inspiring Women in Construction Pledge — an initiative to help the construction industry become more welcoming to women.
As clients transition to working with businesses that share their values around diversity and inclusion, aligning your practices with these values enables you to improve your reputation and get more opportunities to win new work.
4. Improved Financial Performance
A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Specifically, they found that ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their peers financially, while gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to do the same.
There’s also a linear correlation between diversity in management and enhanced financial performance. For every 10% increase in diversity on senior-executive teams, gross earnings also rise by 0.8%. Bottom line? Diversity and inclusion also affect your bottom line.
Demonstrate Your Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion With the FIR Growth Assessment
This year, the Supply Chain Sustainability School (SCSS), in partnership with CHAS, launched the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) Growth Assessment. This specialist assessment scheme enables businesses to highlight their compliance with best practices that support fairness, inclusion and respect in the workplace.
By getting assessed, businesses can receive expert guidance and insights on how to improve diversity and inclusion in their organisations. Once you gain accreditation, you can then use it to prequalify for contracts with companies that have specific requirements for diversity and inclusion in their supply chains.