EDI in the Construction/Engineering Sectors
The National Centre for Diversity is currently working with the UK’s best known and most forward looking of all the construction and engineering companies such as:
- Keller Limited
- Shepherd Construction
- NG Bailey
- Mott Macdonald
These organisations have all voluntarily signed up to one of our national equality standards, such as the Investors in Diversity Awards or Leaders in Diversity Awards, and are actively engaged in working towards breaking long held perceptions of the construction and engineering industries as being male/white dominated where there is little opportunity for anyone that doesn’t fit into that description. They are working with us to show that they are inclusive of all other groups protected under the Equality Act 2010.
Through Investors in Diversity and or Leaders in Diversity our work with them will focus on three key areas:
- Improving workplace cultures.
- Helping them to understand what needs to be done to diversify the workforce.
- Working with them towards influencing good practice in their supply chains.
There is basically a 3-step process to how we are supporting them:
- Conduct an Equality Impact Assessment at the beginning to help them understand their strengths and areas for improvement.
- Offering them support to empower them to own, lead and deliver significant and measureable improvement on EDI.
- Conduct an Equality Impact Assessment at the end of the process to measure improvement and to make recommendations.
We are helping them to examine conscious and unconscious bias in all the different layers of their organisations to help them eliminate discriminatory behaviour.
We are also helping them to understand the legal imperatives for EDI (particularly the Equality Act 2010), the business imperatives as well the moral case for EDI with both the construction sector and within their own organisations.
The Investors in Diversity Award is recognised as much more than just a highly prized and prestigious national equality standard. It provides an all-encompassing methodology for improving Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) practices in the workplace. Those that achieve the Investors in Diversity Award have been enabled to take a structured and planned approach to embedding EDI at the heart of what they do. It also provides an excellent framework to bring together all of an organisation’s work around EDI.
We currently offer four specially designed, high-quality e-learning training programmes based around the following topics:
Should you need additional Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) training within your organisation, our team of expert trainers are on hand to create bespoke programmes for you. Once you have outlined your EDI needs to us, one of our trainers will be in touch to further establish the content of the information required and then deliver a tailor-made training session to your staff at your office base.
This package is designed to help you evaluate the impact of your organisation’s policies, procedures and practices in relation to eliminating discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and fostering of good relations within your workplace.
The Equality Act 2010 outlines a General Duty, applicable to all organisations providing a service to the public or interacting with the public in their daily activities. The duty states that organisations must have objectives in place that will help them deliver on the three specific aims of the duty.
Today, Equality, diversity and inclusion is a very important part of almost all bids and tenders for public sector funding. Getting it wrong could jeopardise your chances of winning the bid.
You may think that you know all about the project or services that you are delivering i.e. operations, delivery of objectives and targets against the criterion etc.
Our team of highly-trained and experienced consultants are able to work with your organisation should you need support with Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) matters such as:
How the Public Sector Equality Duty (Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010) impacts construction companies.
The Equality Act 2010 was by far the most expansive equality legislation ever in the UK – bringing together 116 pieces of pre-existing legislation. It contained a new Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), which brought a previously unparalleled duty to become proactive in terms of how organisations approach equality.
The PSED is made of:
- The 3 aims of the ‘General Duty’, which are summarised below.
- Specific duties to create one or more equality objectives in compliance with the 3 aims paraphrased below and to publish equality information (above 150 staff).
- Eliminating discrimination, harassment, and victimisation for those that share a protected characteristic.
- Advancing equality & opportunity regarding people and groups with a protected characteristic.
- Fostering good relationships between protected & unprotected groups and individuals by tackling prejudice & promoting understanding.
Compliance with the PSED is not just for Public Authorities; private businesses must also comply if they deliver a public function. We are strong in our belief that the PSED is a meaningful stimulus to create real and needed culture change in organisations whatever the sector.
Though the construction companies are probably not bound by the PSED we believe that, if they did comply, then they would improve their practices in a proactive way.
So it is our belief that regardless of whether construction companies are bound by the PSED, they should use the 3 aims as the foundation of their equality, diversity and inclusion work.
The EDI Business Case for Construction companies is an open and shut one.
The business case for EDI for construction companies is clear – if you wish to win public funding or contracts you would have a far greater advantage if you were working to the same framework as the awarding body.
Different government departments are now showing signs that very clearly understood the second aim of advancing equality of opportunity and understand that complying with their duty means using their considerable financial leverage to influence meaningful change in organisations that they fund or tender out.
The research will establish how the highways construction sector compares with a) the generality of IID client organisations; b) with the Housing construction sector, and c) with best EDI practice.
Research to be carried out by the National Centre for Diversity into EDI and the construction sector – if you are from a construction company and you would like to take participate please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are going to be carrying out up to date research to see how far the sector has made progress since research carried out 2004 by Dainty & Ansari “Creating Equality in the Construction Industry’ which concluded that.
“Construction has an unenviable status as being the industry with the lowest representation of women and ethnic minority employees. Despite considerable efforts to diversify the industry’s labour force, this has had little tangible effect on the numbers of these non-traditional entrants.
Empirical studies that have explored aspects of women’s and ethnic minorities’ employment have tended to deal with the experiences of these under-represented groups separately … (but their 2004 study looked specifically at) … women and ethnic minority employees’ experiences of gaining employment and working within the industry … (and found) … the construction workplace presents a challenging and hostile environment for non-traditional entrants, and women and ethnic minority employees face both similar and different challenges and attitudinal barriers. Discriminatory behaviour perpetrated by the dominant white male workforce is commonplace, as are informal recruitment practices, exclusive networks and a competitive and adversarial culture”.
We will use the 2004 research as the baseline to help us assess where the construction sector is now, how much progress has been made and compare the sector to leading organisations from other sectors.
This research will seek to identify, more precisely than can be done at the moment, what leading companies are actually doing in each of the 3 areas, what outcomes they are currently achieving as a result & what the costs and benefits of so doing have been so far.
Some relevant academic research has been conducted, but there seems to be no academic research looking at whether or not there are significant differences between the current EDI profile of construction and engineering firms when they are working on contracts in:
- Highways, as opposed to
- On rail or
- In housing.
The supply chain within construction is particularly extensive and raises the importance of procurement policies to a greater importance than in most sectoral EDI challenges; small & medium companies that make up supply chains are notoriously absent from regulatory monitoring and inspection in general and notoriously low in trade union membership and in the profile within their workforces of all the Equality Act protected groups. This is therefore an opportunity to transform a big slice of employment that cannot be missed.
“Having Investors in Diversity shows our clients, prospective employees and current employees that we are committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Investors in Diversity has given us a focus and a strategy. The journey has encouraged us to put an action plan in place and link everything we do back to EDI.”
- Carillion Plc
- Cruden Group Limited
- EM Highway Services Limited
- Henry Boot Construction
- Interserve Construction Ltd.
- Mott McDonald
- Mouchel Business Services
- Mouchel PLC
- NG Bailey
- Ringway (Eurovia UK Limited)
- Shepherd Construction
- The Byrne Group
- Vinci Construction UK
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