Chronic skills shortages across the construction industry require a fresh approach to attracting new talent, writes CIOB’s head of EDI transformation, Mark Harrison
Attracting and retaining a diverse workforce will require construction industry leaders to move out of their current comfort zone when it comes to recruitment.
This sentiment was illustrated by the recent Women of the World (WOW) Festival 2023, which was a vibrant celebration of the achievements of women and the potential of girls to become tomorrow’s leaders.
The event came just days after International Women’s Day (8 March), underlining the importance of continuing the discussion around equality and equity beyond one calendar date.
As part of a series of global events, the three-day London festival included a line-up of world-class speakers, activists, musicians and comedians, delivering a packed agenda of talks, workshops, performances and music.
The CIOB was delighted to be represented at the festival by incoming president Sandi Rhys Jones, as well as a number of CIOB members, including some of our Tomorrow’s Leaders.
The CIOB stall at the event was a hive of activity, with members offering speed mentoring sessions and engaging with attendees across a broad spectrum of ages with varied exposure to the construction industry.
The opportunity to engage with such a diverse range of people – many of whom we would not typically meet at traditional industry events – was truly inspiring.
Moreover, it struck me that we – both the CIOB and the broader construction industry – must do much more to break out of our silos when it comes to recruitment.
We must all do more to reach out to those candidates who might not have previously considered a career in construction.
The onus is on us as an industry to clearly demonstrate how rewarding construction can be, as well as busting the myth that every role involves heavy lifting and digging holes.
There is an exciting range of valuable career routes on offer, from digital to sustainability, and more.
By acknowledging where the industry must improve, while also celebrating the very best that construction has to offer, we will be best placed to attract a diverse cohort of fresh thinkers ready to tackle the challenges of the future.
Mark Harrison is head of EDI transformation at CIOB.