One third of new hires are women at this 120-year-old US construction firm
Construction has a long way to go to move the needle on diversity and inclusion in its ranks. While the industry’s numbers, compared to the nation’s overall workforce, skew heavily white and male, companies are making efforts to change that.
Currently, over 1,100 firms are taking part in Construction Inclusion Week, which kicked off October 18. The initiative, founded by six major construction firms, looks at leadership accountability, unconscious bias, supplier diversity, jobsite culture and community engagement in the industry.
CIW, which is modeled on the industry’s highly successful Safety Week, is aimed at bringing diversity, equity and inclusion to the forefront of construction’s workforce. In addition, the initiative is designed to make diversity and inclusion a focus in construction 365 days a year.
Here are some of the steps to take to maintain diversity:
- It is critical for contractors to focus on implementing programs and setting goals to increase education, heighten appreciation for cultural diversity and eliminate intolerance. Each contractor should take time to define what diversity and inclusion means for their firm, then start to focus on things they can do to evolve their culture.
- When hiring, be transparent about the open position and create a recruitment process that is consistent for all applicants.
- Be intentional about expanding your talent pool. Utilize all employees to tap their networks and get outside of the typical places you find talent.
- Offer employees opportunities to tell their stories. Storytelling is a powerful tool to build empathy and show diverse representation within your firm.
- Offer reciprocal mentorship opportunities where participants are intentional about learning from and advocating for each other.
- Know that change can be uncomfortable, but critical to be able to attract and retain the workforce of the future.