Tackling EDI together: a new Coalition for the construction industry

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Highbourne Group has partnered with leading organisations across the construction industry to launch a new coalition which aims to tackle a lack of diversity in the sector.

Along with 10 other major organisations we are now proud to be to be part of the Construction Inclusion Coalition (CIC) with an ambition to improve equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) across the industry.

Our fellow members include high profile organisations such as Aliaxis, Baxi, Bradfords, Ibstock PLC, Knauf, Travis Perkins PLC, the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) and the National Merchant Buying Society (NMBS) and Wavin.

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Our joint aim is to raise standards on equity, diversity and inclusion, with an initial focus on gender representation in the first year.

Women make up just 15% of employees in the construction industry and the figure for those from minority backgrounds is as low as 6%.

The industry is missing out on an entire pool of talent.

When you also consider that construction has one of the most rapidly ageing workforces in the UK (with research showing that close to a million construction workers are set to retire in the next 10 years) the time to put that right is now. In order to do that, we need to change perceptions, too.

The coalition is being launched alongside new polling which shows that only 36% of British people would feel confident that their female family or friends would be safe and respected if they joined the construction industry.

However, the research, of over 2000 adults, also outlines a real opportunity for the sector - with 46% saying they would be more likely to actively seek out employment opportunities if the industry demonstrated a stronger commitment to diversity and inclusion. This is something at Highbourne Group we’re proud to champion and commit to.

The Built on Better Pledge

This pledge covers seven areas that members commit to working on:

Inspire: Work together to inspire the next generation of leaders in the construction industry

Listen: Conduct internal surveys on equality, diversity and inclusion, and to act on the main problems and barriers identified.

Share: Develop and share resources from within and beyond the construction industry

Support: Support a healthy and collaborative workplace environment and maintain a whistleblowing procedure where colleagues feel comfortable speaking out

Educate: Educate ourselves, our colleagues and the wider industry around aspects of equity, diversity and inclusion

Measure: Commit to benchmarking, tracking and sharing equity, diversity, and inclusion data within organisations

Report: Assess our equity, diversity, and inclusion progress on an annual basis, and outlining a plan for further action.

It’s a big moment for the industry and we’re delighted that the CIC has been endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council, a body which draws together business leaders from across the sector and links them with the UK government.

Together we believe we can create measurable solutions that positively impact equity, diversity and inclusion, creating a better world in the process.

Dave Evans, CEO