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Construction Leadership Forum launches diversity plan for Scotland

by Sion Geschwindt
Construction Leadership Forum launches diversity plan for Scotland

The Construction Leadership Forum (CLF) has launched a new initiative to encourage the development of a more diverse and all-encompassing workforce within Scotland’s construction industry.

Funded by the Scottish Government, the National Equity and Inclusion Plan (NEIP) is part of a wider transformation plan for the industry giving the sector access to a wider talent pool to support growth and help to address labour shortages.

In the construction industry in Scotland 15.4% are women, and there is a gender pay gap of 23%. Some 1.6% of workers in the sector are from a minority ethnic background compared with 4.3% of minority ethnic workers in Scotland as a whole.

Figures from the Annual Population Survey in 2020 show 10.5% of the workforce are disabled, 33% of the construction workforce are aged 50+ with only 2.7% of starts in Modern Apprentices female.

Diversity in construction

The NEIP sets out ‘Six by 2026’ strategic aims which the CLF commits to work with industry to achieve. These aims include the sharing of best practices across industry, using data and industry feedback to benchmark progress, signposting to a range of resources for companies to access and development of industry-wide E&I accreditation.

The Plan was developed following an in-depth study by GenAnalytics which looked at the challenges and current state of play and what current best practice there is from inside and outside the sector.

It was informed by a wide stakeholder group including E&I experts, industry and government and found that construction falls way short of equity and inclusion standards compared to other sectors and identified a number of sector-specific issues to be addressed by the Plan.

Business minister and Construction Leadership Forum chair Ivan McKee said: “I recognise that we face new economic and social challenges of an unprecedented scale.

“This plan aims to support wider efforts to address inequality and promote greater diversity within the Scottish construction sector to encourage inclusive growth and help address labour shortages.

“Companies with better records of fair work, equity and inclusion do better, have a healthier and more engaged workforce and demonstrate greater diversity of thought. Fairness and inclusiveness encourages better relations with partners, shareholders, customers and employees.

“It will help support the increased resilience of construction and reinforce wider efforts to create a more sustainable economy, in line with the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation.”

Lynsey Brydson, NEIP project lead at Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST), added: “The NEIP sets out a clear path for the sector to follow and importantly this will be benchmarked to monitor the progress that has to be made.

“Quick progress can be made through signposting to initiatives like the DIveIN programme run by Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST) that gives free E&I training and support to construction companies.”

Image credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

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