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Recruiter and Diversity Consultancy Urge Construction Sector to Prioritise Equality

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Specialist construction and rail recruiter, One Way, and diversity consultancy, The Clear Company, are calling on employers in the building arena to invest in an overhaul of hiring and employment cultures in order to attract and retain from a wider pool of talent and tackle worsening talent shortages.

In response to a recent survey from Aldermore bank, which found that 61% of construction businesses in the UK are currently struggling to hire talent, the two firms have called on employers to put diversity at the top of their agenda and review existing business cultures and hiring processes in order to attract a more diverse range of professionals, in particular, females.

Currently, women make up only 11 per cent of the construction workforce and just one per cent of onsite workers. This statistic is particularly alarming when analysed alongside the latest talent shortages data.

Paul Payne, Managing Director of One Way, explains:

“The construction industry is facing a talent shortfall that has been growing for some time, so it’s perhaps no surprise that Aldermore has found that 61% of firms are struggling to hire. Given that the sector ended 2016 on a high with a notable up-tick in activity, ignoring this skills shortage will quite simply be detrimental to future growth. Continuing to alienate anyone, including women, is no longer feasible and everyone in the industry must commit to addressing this issue now. It’s for this reason that we are continuing with our efforts to increase the number of female students choosing a career in construction through our #GirlsAllowed campaign.”

Kate Headley, Director of The Clear Company, adds:

“A diverse workforce is a must in this modern world and traditionally male-dominated fields such as construction must reconsider their hiring and talent attraction processes now or risk alienating half of the population at a time when skills shortages are reaching a critical point. We’ve spoken to numerous firms keen to hire more women, but few have considered changing both their approach to employment and existing cultures, meaning the real barriers aren’t being addressed. A combination of unconscious biases, sticking to the same old talent routes and a tendency to hire in one’s own image is exacerbating the barriers women face in gaining employment in construction. What’s needed is an honest look in the mirror and an overhaul of existing processes if equality is to truly be achieved.”