The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has high hopes for its latest publication, Diversity and inclusion in construction: a charter for competitive advantage and enhanced employee belonging.
The document presents a five-point plan for changing the culture of the industry, ending the use of inappropriate and discriminatory language and behaviour, be it on site or in the office.
The CIOB believes that employers who sign up, and commit to, the charter, will see improvements in the diversity and sense of belonging in their organisations. This will, in turn, help to address the skills shortage increasingly affecting the sector. More people will want to join your organisation and existing employees are less likely to want to leave, it is suggested.
Although change should not be expected overnight, the report says. Progress will inevitably continue to be slow because most companies do not create enough jobs to transform personnel ratios in a shirt time. “However, they will reap business and human dividends in becoming more diverse and inclusive,” the report says.
The five-point charter says:
1. Show leadership
We will demonstrate visible senior leadership by highlighting the benefits of diversity and inclusion in both internal and external messaging and action.
2. Make a plan
We will create a plan including targets where appropriate, and any other action needed to: address under-representation; reduce identified pay gaps; and/or ensure equitable development and progression for all.
3. Shape the culture
We will prominently display messages promoting an inclusive culture and making it clear that inappropriate or discriminatory language or behaviour will not be tolerated.
4. Be transparent
We will publish an annual report detailing the progress made against our targets and setting out our plans for the next 12 months.
5. Be accountable
We will show board-level accountability by assigning responsibility for these charter commitments to the CEO or a named director.
CIOB chief executive Caroline Gumble said: “We, as an industry, have the potential to drive positive change and we can do this by ensuring that we promote equality and support initiatives which break down barriers, reduce the impact of bias and actively support all those who aspire to a fulfilling and progressive career in our industry. This charter sets out a direction of travel and now each of us must plot the course towards a more inclusive industry.”
Rick Willmott, chief executive of Willmott Dixon, one of the sponsors of the report, said: "The industry is already making huge strides in this area, which is important given the skills shortage we face, and only by attracting the very widest talent pool available in society can we ensure a sustainable flow of future skills.
"Successful companies are those that provide a diverse and inclusive environment where people feel challenged, contented and included within complementary teams, which is something embedded in our values. By sharing our ideas in this report, I'm pleased we can help shine a spotlight on the business imperative of workplace diversity, and to highlight that construction is a place where people can genuinely enjoy a career of a lifetime."
The report and charter is available on the CIOB website or can be downloaded directly as a pdf here.