CIOB: ‘Walk the walk’ on recruiting women

7 June 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has urged construction firms to “walk the walk” when it comes to recruiting and retaining more women in the industry.

The call came as part of the CIOB’s response to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Excellence in the Built Environment’s inquiry on increasing the number of women in the construction workforce, considered one of the necessary steps in addressing the industry’s skills’ needs, particularly post-Brexit.

The CIOB pointed to industry estimates suggesting that construction in the UK will create over 168,000 jobs between 2019-2023. Demand to fill those roles, while large numbers of workers are retiring and while there is uncertainty over Brexit and the numbers of migrant workers available to support the UK workforce, means it is more important than ever to increase diversity to help address the skills shortage, the CIOB asserted.

In its response to the APPG’s inquiry, the CIOB outlined what the industry is doing to promote diversity and some examples of best practice. But it also noted that it is important to “walk the walk” on this issue and that examining good practice and areas for improvement in-house are “a must”.

The CIOB highlighted some of its own progressive steps to support gender equality, with its first female chief executive taking up her role later this year and the Novus network in Manchester now comprising an all-female committee.

Not a box-ticking exercise

It argued that it is essential that increasing the diversity of the construction workforce is seen not just as a box ticking exercise but a progressive and positive move to expand the workforce and improve the depth and breadth of skill sets available.

And its written response to the inquiry, pointed to the fact that diversity in the workforce “can often lead to increased earning potential.” A study by McKinsey & Company found a strong relationship between gender diversity and performance, with an increase of 3.5% in earnings before interest and taxes for every 10% increase in gender diversity in the senior executive team.

Rebecca Thompson, a past president of the CIOB and director of Thompson Heritage Consultancy, said: “I am delighted that this issue is being highlighted as it is something that needs to be addressed to improve diversity and inclusion within the construction workforce and the range of skills and experience available. As we’ve said in the response, it’s a powerful opportunity to advocate equality in the workforce, bringing expertise from other sectors and industries.”

The CIOB’s full response to the APPG inquiry can be found here.


"Walk the Walk" It is the right thing to do on diversity, as a single footstep will not make a successful path in our industry, single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. Kudos CIOB, the action will prove who we are and our work will be a backup of what we do - Actions speak volume than words!


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