UWE report on construction calls for action on diversity

Issue date: 14 September 2009

Construction Industry Council The construction industry has a long way to go to achieve diversity, according to a report commissioned by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) from the University of the West of England.

A team from UWE's School of the Built and Natural Environment - Ann de Graft-Johnson, Rachel Sara, Fiona Gleed and Nada Brkljac - compared statistics on diversity in the construction industry with data from other professions such as medicine and law.

Ann de Graft Johnson said, “Our research revealed a lack of available information on diversity in the construction industry. Both the legal and medical sectors are much more advanced in embracing equality and diversity in their workforce and have monitoring structures in place.”

The report found that the construction industry is disproportionately white, male and able-bodied. It has led the CIC, which represents the sector's professional institutions, to call on the industry to address its poor performance on diversity.

Keith Clarke, chairman of CIC said, “The construction sector should recruit a workforce that reflects our clients' needs. A diverse workforce brings new skills, makes the sector more appealing to a wider pool of recruits and improves staff retention. And on an international scale, it gives us a competitive advantage. We can no longer afford to lag behind the legal and medical professions.”

The research found that, despite legislation covering the prevention of discrimination only 13.5% employees in the construction workforce are women, 2% are from black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups, and 14% have some form of impairment. Among the other findings were:

- all construction industry institutes have fewer than 20% female membership and the majority have less than 10% apart from the Landscape Institute and the RTPI

- HESA statistics show the number of female students is rising but still lagging dramatically behind medicine and law

-architecture attracts relatively high proportions of BAME students but these have higher than average drop-out rates and achieve lower degree classifications.

The report adds to a growing body of research at UWE on issues of gender and equal opportunities issues within the architecture, design and construction professions.

Two earlier studies for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) investigated why women leave architecture as a profession, and another studied the best ways of supporting people with disabilities who want to become or are already architects or designers.



New research to support disabled architects in UK

The report entitled 'Gathering and Reviewing Data on Diversity within the Construction Professions' can be downloaded from CIC Diversity Report

Back to top