Racial disparity in construction: a missed opportunity

The government’s report this week does not align with experiences of CIOB members from ethnic minorities, writes Caroline Gumble

The government seems to have missed an opportunity, with the publication this week of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report, to use a depth and breadth of evidence to properly identify the causes and impact of racial disparities.

The findings of the report don’t align with what our members from ethnic minority backgrounds are telling us and what the figures on the ethnic minority representation in construction suggests – only about 6% of the UK construction workforce is from an ethnic minority background.

CIOB has, over the years, examined some of the biggest issues in society and suggested actions that can be done to address them.

"We, as an industry, have the potential to effect positive change and one way we can do this is to help ensure that we promote racial equality"

We have tackled difficult yet important subjects such as corruption, modern slavery, mental health and social mobility. We, as an industry, have the potential to effect positive change and one way we can do this is to help ensure that we promote racial equality and support initiatives which break down barriers, reduce the impact of bias and actively support those from ethnic minority backgrounds who aspire to a fulfilling career in our industry.

Improving racial equality is in everyone’s interest and, recognising that our own journey is just starting, we as an organisation will work with members, our networks and our sister professional bodies to promote racial equality and play our part in enacting positive change.

As a first step, we have been working on a charter to promote equality, diversity and inclusion across the sector. We are actively having conversations with many in the industry about practical actions to identify underrepresentation and address inequality.

We will continue with this work and continue to seize opportunities to keep these issues on the agenda and instil positive change.

Caroline Gumble is CEO of the CIOB.

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  1. The majority in this country put labels on people, whether it be black, white, disabled, BAME etc, etc. Take the labels away and treat everyone the same. The person who gets the job is the one who shines above all others not for their colour but the most capable!! Treat everyone as an equal and start from there. This applies for female and male counterparts with no pay gaps. Who is the best candidate for the job should be best qualified and capable. Stop putting labels on people and treat all as equal

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