Construction Inclusion Week kicks off with industry looking to improve its workforce diversity

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Diversity topic front and center for construction industry

Construction Inclusion Week kicks off with industry looking to improve its workforce diversity.

The inaugural Construction Inclusion Week kicked off on Monday (Oct 18) – beginning five days of discussion and resources to promote inclusion and diversity within the construction industry. The event, organized by Time for Change, a consortium of six general contractors, promises to provide tools and content that can be used at project sites, office locations, at home, plus other resources for deeper exploration of the topic.

Over a thousand construction industry firms throughout North and Central America have signed up for Construction Inclusion Week. It comes at a time when the topic couldn’t be timelier. Labor shortages have hit the construction industry hard, and firms need to show they are welcoming, safe, and inclusive to all types of potential workers.

According to stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States, women make up 46.8% of the workforce in all industries compared to just 11% in the construction industry. In Canada, the statistics aren’t much better. In 2018, women accounted for only 12% of construction industry workforce compared to 47.7%.

The Canadian Construction Association says bringing in more underrepresented groups should be a key business strategy for staying competitive and filling labor gaps. While many firms and contractors are making concerted efforts to improve the diversity of their workforce, there is still much work to be done. Here’s a round up recent news articles tackling the topic:

One Solution to a Shortage of Skilled Workers? Diversify the Construction Industry.

According to the New York Times, President Biden’s infrastructure plan would create a hiring challenge, but also an opportunity to recruit from communities that the industry has long ignored.

Why one third of new hires are women at this 120-year-old construction firm

Burns & McDonnell, a Kansas City, Missouri-based contractor tells Construction Drive about what it’s doing to change the face of its workforce.

Construction diversity is still a work in progress

The Minnesota Spokesman Recorder goes deep with a piece on how state and local agencies are working to fix diversity shortfalls in the local construction industry by supporting job training programs and recruiting from diverse communities.

Boston Struggles To Boost Minority, Female Labor Force In Construction

Of the top 150 construction projects in Boston in the last five years by hours worked, less than a third met racial equity goals, none met goals for women and only three projects met goals for city residents, according to city data in a story by GBH.

Built Environment CEOs Sign Diversity Commitment

The National Institute of Building Sciences secured 20 signatures from leaders committed to supporting greater diversity in the built environment. Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, President and CEO of NIBS, said this commitment ensures real and equitable change will take place for employees and employers throughout the building industry.

"The built environment workforce is facing shortages and improving DEI is the best solution," said Woods.

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