The construction industry struggles to attract workers from diverse backgrounds. Women make up around 13% of construction sector workers and of those, only 1-2% of women are working ‘on-site’. The figure is even less for those from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background (BAME) who only make up 6% of the workforce.
The benefits of increasing diversity in the workforce are numerous, it can mean new ways of thinking, working and growing business. Not only does diversity increase the pool of talent accessible by industries, but it can often lead to increased earning potential. A study by McKinsey & Company found a strong relationship between gender diversity and performance, with an increase of 3.5% in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for every 10% increase in gender diversity in the senior executive team (and a 1.4% increase for the board).
It is essential that increasing the diversity of the construction workforce is seen not just as a box ticking exercise but a progressive and positive move to expand the workforce and improve the depth and breadth of skill sets available. The sector has an escalating demand for recruits with a limited pool of existing talent within the industry and therefore employing those who have transferable skills from other backgrounds will help fulfil industry needs.
The benefits of a diverse workforce are clear. It can mean new ways of thinking, working and growing business. We recognise the potential of these opportunities and support programmes such as BuildForce, which is introducing ex-service personnel into construction and engineering jobs. Due to their transferable skills, such as teamworking, leadership and time management, they make fantastic candidates for careers in construction.
Additionally, with the UK’s tightening labour market and escalating demand for recruits, we can expect more businesses to look to untapped talent from outside the sector.
We have policy positions that cover a wide range of key issues affecting the construction industry.