Improved levels of social mobility should lead to outcomes for society at large. High levels of social mobility provide an opportunity for those from underprivileged backgrounds to break the boundary of their social class.The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), states that the UK sits near or at the bottom of the league for social mobility among the world’s advanced nations. This is leading to a lack of opportunity for people to move between social and economic classes.
Construction plays a critical role in reversing the declining levels of economic and social mobility in the UK. However, the desirability of a career in the construction industry still needs to be addressed in order to attract new talent into the sector.
Schools and careers services generally lack awareness of the construction industry’s career opportunities, meaning students have little advice or guidance about careers in this sector. Therefore, the industry relies heavily on word of mouth and the general public’s perception of the industry in order to attract new talent.
Another barrier the construction industry needs to tackle is equality and diversity. Many organisations in the sector struggle to implement major change in order to gain a better gender balance and to attract ethnic minorities. Many industries are benefitting from a diverse workforce; however, construction is currently behind the curve due to the perception and culture of the industry.
Construction is a key part of the economy, a driver of jobs and growth. The industry plays a huge role in reversing the declining levels of economic and social mobility. Studies have shown that through constructing a better built environment the industry has a major bearing on social mobility. Through building schools, homes and hospitals, the industry can influence the well-being and life-chances of everyone.
Industries often benefit from a diverse workforce and the construction industry not only provides social status and solid earnings but provides many with an opportunity and a platform for progression within their career, from the trades through to management and professional roles. However, more needs to be done to change the perception of construction as a ‘last resort’ in order to attract people into careers within the industry.
We are keen to emphasise the key role that construction has in improving social and economic mobility, as well as changing the way people perceive careers in construction.
We have several routes to becoming a Chartered professional and we encourage more people to progress and have a career in the construction industry. Whether that’s from people with a graduate background, those who have taken technical or vocational qualifications or those who have built up years of experience, we have established a suitable path.
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) also produce numerous resources through their GoConstruct portal, which we endorse, to showcase the opportunities of careers in construction, from trade to professional careers.