Diversity and Inclusion
Achieving diversity, equality and inclusion within the construction industry will help ensure that everyone can share the benefits of - and contribute to - a prosperous sector. It is perhaps the only way to ensure that the built environment caters for a variety of needs.
Improving diversity, equality and inclusion within the industry is the ethical choice, but it can also bring clear economic benefits such as addressing the problems professions and businesses face in attracting skilled workers and maintaining productivity.
Although professional institutions are working hard to make industry more diverse, appealing and representative, the construction industry on the whole has a diversity problem, with recent figures indicating that:
- Just 5.4% of construction workers are from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background. This compares to around 13.8% of the UK population being from a minority ethnic background with London having 40% of its population within this bracket.
- Women account for just under half of the total UK workforce but only 11 per cent of the construction workforce and just 1 per cent of workers on site.
- The UK-born construction workforce age profile peaks at between 50 & 64 years old. This means that construction will lose a quarter of its workforce - over 500,000 UK-born workers - in the next 10-15 years.
In addition to this, construction has an ongoing mental health crisis with people working in the sector still three times more likely to take their own lives than those in other sectors. This is particularly high among unskilled workers such as labourers.
The need for real change
Cultural change is therefore needed to support businesses to invest in training, become educated about the benefits of a diverse workforce, and support employees through flexible working and providing a living wage.
CIC members are working hard in order to improve the industry and help the message gets down the supply chain to reach everyone.
There are many ongoing initiatives on inclusivity and wellbeing that are likely to attract a more representative workforce and improve productivity. For example an 18-month study trialing different models of flexible working – including on site – led by some of the UK’s largest contracting businesses showed no negative impacts on deadlines or budgets and a significant upturn in employee job satisfaction.
CIC Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee
The aim of CIC’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee is to provide a collaborative and strategic forum and platform for members of all construction and built environment disciplines and professional bodies to identify and promote a genuine commitment and a consistent approach to EDI in the construction and built environment sector.
Inclusive Environment Recognition Certification
CIC’s ‘Inclusive Environments Recognition’ certification is awarded to organisations which support and follow the CIC Essentials Principles Guide for Clients, Developers and Contractors.
Most recently the certification has been awarded to the following projects:
Diversitas, a new umbrella body was officially launched on 29 June 2023 by CIC with the goal to increase representation of black professionals within CIC networks and the built environment.
The first member organisations of Diversitas are: DiverseCity Surveyors, Association For Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK), Black Professionals in Construction (BPIC Network) and BAME Planners Network.