2018 has proved to be a memorable year for diversity and inclusion news, advocacy, strategies and, most importantly, action. Here is what BBU believes are five of the developing trends for 2019 and the construction sector:
Growth in Affinity Groups
2018 saw a growth in new affinity/networking groups in the construction sector as a way to support the needs of diverse talent. As organisations and individuals seek ways to support a diverse workforce, greater investments will be made in grassroots approaches which create a greater understanding of the barriers and enablers of inclusive workplaces.
Increased competition for talent
The UK is on the cusp of significant demographic change in the population and workforce. The impact of an ageing workforce will mean that employers will increasingly need to explore ways to engage, retain and support a multi-generational workforce. This is likely to increase demand for work flexibility and a better understanding of, for example, disability and ageism.
At the time of writing, the UK’s exit of the European Union is still an unknown quantity in terms of the impact on migration and skills. The construction sector has, for some time, been struggling to find the talent needed to deliver major infrastructure, engineering and housing projects - an issue which has been mitigated by the opportunity afforded by EU membership and the mutual recognition of skills. This could provide a much-needed push to engage and recruit from a wider UK talent pool.
Mind the gap
In 2018 the UK government launched Gender Pay Gap reporting for companies of 250 people plus, as a way of measuring the average pay difference between men and women. The outcomes of this work proved to be a talking point in 2018 and a catalyst for some organisations to address inequality. The government is currently exploring the expansion of pay reporting and is consulting on Ethnicity Pay Gap reporting. Should this go live we are likely to see much more intentional and action-driven strategies to address pay inequality.
Focus on leadership
One of the many reasons that the findings in the reports on the diversity pay gap have been so marked is the lack of diversity at junior and senior management levels of companies and organisations. To truly transform, organisations will need to do more to raise awareness and take action to root out unconscious bias in their progression strategies.
Intersectionality and diversity beyond gender
As the conversation in the construction industry evolves we will need to see businesses go beyond what has been the relatively safe ground of focus on gender diversity, to consider how the often multiple impacts of bias and discrimination are limiting individuals as well as access to talent.