Workplace diversity means creating an inclusive environment that accepts each individual's differences, embraces their strengths and provides opportunities for all workers to achieve their full potential.
Why is diversity so important in the construction industry?
- We know that diversity is a key driver of innovation. Research has shown this to be the case time and time again, including this report from McKinsey that shows that gender-diverse companies are 14% more likely to perform better than non-diverse companies, with ethnically diverse companies 35% more likely to perform better
- The pool of talent is becoming increasingly diverse, so we are missing out on a huge proportion of the workforce if we focus only on homogenous groups
- At the same time, there is more diversity across consumers which means that any organisation not promoting equality, diversity and inclusion is neglecting valuable markets, missing out on sales and ultimately losing profits
- Construction is a major pillar of the UK’s economy, employing around 2.1 million people. 2.9m people are employed by the UK Construction sector, which is expected to grow 2.5% every year for the next five years and create 232,000 job
- Construction apprenticeships are up 12% across Britain, with government pledging to deliver 80,000 apprenticeships by 2020
Transport for London Safety Tunic is Industry First
People who work in TfL’s engineering, maintenance and construction teams now have access to what they believe is a world-first in the rail industry – a high visibility safety tunic that can be worn as part of personal protective equipment (PPE). Until now the familiar bright orange PPE clothing consisted of jackets, trousers and dungarees.
But when a female graduate engineering trainee suggested TfL investigate an alternative style of PPE, particularly for women with a dress code based on their culture or religion, the search was on.
Following extensive investigations, a UK company was found that had a prototype product about to be trialled in the Middle East. A team led by a TfL health, safety and environment manager worked with the supplier to ensure the clothing fully complied with relevant safety standards for London Underground, TfL Rail and national rail services, as well as highways and construction sites.
TfL is proud to be a rail industry-leader in enabling its staff to observe religious and cultural requirements while also ensuring they have the right level of safety protection.
The PPE initiative was a collaboration between TfL, manufacturers Leo Workwear, and distributors Hayley Rail. It meets BSEN 20471 RIS-TOM 3279 Class 3, and the rail/construction site visibility and garment colour and material requirements.
The tunic is now available for TfL staff to order in both orange and yellow.
Tips for creating a diverse workplace
Discuss diversity with your employees, highlighting the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workplace.
To attract diverse groups into the industry, including women, help to improve the overall image of construction as a desirable sector to work in, in particular by ensuring your health and safety practice is exemplary.
Identify and address any unconscious bias in recruitment, retention and promotion.
Value individual skills that employees bring.
Ensure flexible work options are available to all staff, including comprehensive parental leave policies for both men and women.
Be aware of different cultural practices and special needs of employees and make workplace adjustments where appropriate.
Take steps to prevent discrimination and harassment.