Construction organisations launch coalition to tackle diversity issue

Construction industry experts have united to launch a new coalition that aims to tackle a lack of diversity across the industry.

The Construction Inclusion Coalition (CIC) has been established by CEOs at 11 leading organisations including Aliaxis, Baxi, Bradfords, Highbourne Group, Ibstock PLC, Knauf, Travis Perkins PLC, Wavin, Wolseley, the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) and the National Merchant Buying Society (NMBS), to raise sector standards on equity, diversity and inclusion.

Between them, the CIC’s members represent more than 250,000 workers. The coalition’s immediate focus in the first year is on gender representation.

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

The research of more than 2,000 people also outlined opportunities for the sector, with nearly half of people (46%) saying they’d be more likely to actively seek out employment opportunities in the construction industry if it demonstrated a stronger commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

CIC chairperson and Toolstation managing director, Angela Rushforth, said: “There is no doubt that the future of our industry is at risk if we don’t create an environment where all our colleagues feel safe, empowered and confident. I want all young women to see the construction sector as I do - full of opportunity.

“We aren’t attracting and retaining from a diverse pool of talent, because many think the construction sector is not for them. 

“These are industry-wide challenges that require industry-wide solutions, which is why the Construction Inclusion Coalition has been set up to improve equity, diversity and inclusion.

"We are calling on businesses across the sector – no matter how big or small - to join our coalition and commit to taking action in their organisations.”

Those involved are urging businesses across the industry to join the initiative and take the Built on Better Pledge. The pledge covers seven areas members commit to working on.

Organisations will work together to enhance the impact of their individual equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, by fostering collaboration and establishing a network to share knowledge and resources across the industry, and co-creating solutions that will make a difference. Progress will be tracked annually and shared in a public report. 

The coalition has been endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council. CLC co-chair and CEO of Mace, Mark Reynolds, said: “The Construction Leadership Council has long been advocating for businesses and organisations in our sector to collaborate to make our industry more welcoming and inclusive. 

“It is clear that ensuring a consistent approach to equity, diversity and inclusion will be vital for the future of construction, which is why we’re pleased to support the Construction Inclusion Coalition. 

“There is much work to be done, however I am confident that sharing knowledge and raising standards, we can make a meaningful impact across the sector.”

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