According to the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS), it’s estimated that women account for just 12.8% of the country’s construction industry workforce. It therefore seems that more needs to be done to attract women into the industry.
The Inspire summit welcomed over 200 construction professionals at the Hilton hotel in Manchester this June, as a platform encouraging debate on diversity and inclusion within the construction sector.
The 2019 event was the third year for the summit and was hosted this time by broadcast journalist Marverine Cole.
Both men and women working in the construction sector discussed the issues surrounding diversity and inclusion in the industry at the event.
Three sections were the focus for creating a culture in which everybody can succeed: personal development, recruitment and retention.
There were many experts and industry leaders debating wide ranges of topics from tackling an unconscious bias in individuals and creating inclusive recruitment strategies, to attract a more diverse workforce for the future.
Fiona Triller, programme director of Creating Inclusive Industries, discussed how individuals can form form social stereotypes about certain groups of people outside of their conscious awareness.
With the industry skills shortage being a well-documented issue, there was also much discussion around attracting greater numbers of young people into the industry. It was mentioned that teachers need to be better trained along with career advisers and parents about the breadth of career opportunities available in construction.
In the hope of inspiring parents to encourage their children to join the construction industry, Neil Conlon, business development manager at Conlon Construction, said, “In Europe engineers are classed with doctors and surgeons and given a higher social profile than they are in this country.”