Construction 2025 – Creating a talented and diverse workforce
The industry is already aware of the importance of people. Since the 1990s, building contractors have been abiding by the Considerate Constructors Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice and implementing new initiatives to improve the relationship between contractor and community, as well as improving the well-being of its staff.
Yet, the industry is still falling short when it comes to diversification and equality in the workplace. Recent statistics show that only 9% of the construction workforce is female and only 9% of a black minority. If we are to create an industry known for its talented and diverse workforce, it is important for companies to improve upon these figures.
So what is Speller Metcalfe doing? Below I have included a few examples of what we are doing to help promote the highest standards – from recruitment to employment welfare – all of which can be easily implemented by other companies.
According to the CITB, the UK needs to recruit and train 200,000 new people in the next five years to meet the current growth in construction. This is concerning considering the number of apprentices completing a qualification in England has fallen to below 8,000.
Companies therefore need to allocate the appropriate time and resources to recruitment in order to maintain a high retention rate and create a workforce that consists of ambitious, high performing and inspiring employees.
What can Companies’ do to improve its recruitment process?
- Attend career fairs. Speller Metcalfe regularly presents at schools within the West Midlands to educate under-represented groups on the construction industry. We currently have 10 active Construction Ambassadors – 5 of which are female – which work with the CITB to share their positive experiences of construction to potential new entrants;
- Highlight the investment you make in people in your marketing (website, literature etc.);
- Focus on the issues that are important to your target demographic, and highlight your company’s dedication in these areas. For example, recent research shows that over 50% of the younger generation want to work for ethical companies, and are likely to participate in charitable activities;
- Speller Metcalfe has recently introduced an intranet which has helped develop and retain staff by building cross-functional relationships and promoting best practice standards.
Developing your employee’s skills can increase efficiency of staff, stay ahead of the competition and drive new skills and knowledge. If the construction industry is to fully embrace the digital economy, it will need to mobilise the country’s brightest talent in order to effectively apply technology to our built environment.
What can companies’ do to create a dynamic workforce?
- Contractors should take responsibility for training sub-contractors in order to improve building quality and efficiency, particularly in new technologies such as BIM. Speller Metcalfe are currently working with the mechanical and electrical (M&E) sub-contractor at Warwick Hospital – who is currently not BIM capable – to produce their own 3D working model to feed into the project model;
- Recruiting an apprentice within an organisation is a positive way of future planning and filling any impending skills gaps you may have. Speller Metcalfe created the Worcester Construction Apprentice Academy to bring together employers and apprentices in Worcestershire and provide additional financial grants for training and equipment;
- Identify the skills gap within your own workforce and provide specific training to accommodate these needs. A CITB 2014 report cited that 22% of employers felt that they were lacking in personal skills and 10% IT skills;
- Create a leadership programme such as Speller Metcalfe’s ‘Innovation and Excellence Board’ whereby 6 members were drawn from across the company as a direct, monthly link to the directors, raising issues, delivering new and creative ideas and learning about the role of senior managers.
Building Blocks, 2015, How to allign your Digital Strategy with Construction 2025, viewed 30 November 2015, v=http://insight.building-blocks.com/hs-fs/hub/403124/file-2565781537-pdf/campaign-assets/construction-whitepaper/Building_Blocks-How_to_align_your_digital_strategy_with_Construcion_2025.pdf?t=1432308424254
CITB, 2014, Skills and training in the Construction Industry 2014, viewed 30 November 2015, http://www.citb.co.uk/global/banners/192px/citb%20skills%20and%20training%20in%20the%20construction%20industry_final%20report%202014.pdf
Gov.co.uk, 2013, Construction 2025, viewed 30 November 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/210099/bis-13-955-construction-2025-industrial-strategy.pdf