An analysis of diversity management in the construction industry: a case study of a main contractor
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AbstractIn recent times there is an increasing argument for diversity and inclusivity in work places. Although the construction industry is moving forward to improve diversity, there is still a long way to create a more inclusive workforce. Not only are there legal requirements that organisations must adhere to following the release of the Equality Act 2010, there is also a moral and business case for managing diversity. It has been speculated that improving diversity and reaching out to wider talent pools could help improve the skills shortage that is currently affecting the industry. However, there is limited evidence to substantiate this claim in the construction industry context. The aim of this study is to establish a theoretical perspective on how diversity management would improve the construction industry and evaluate whether main contractors are managing diversity effectively. A theoretical framework was developed through the review of the literature to monitor the effectiveness of the DM strategies. A case study of one of the top ten major contractors in the United Kingdom has been carried out to see the extent to which the company is applying the diversity management requirements. The data were collected using semi-structured interviews with senior management mainly Director, Project Manager and Diversity Manager to understand their current approach to manage diversity, document analysis and observations. Following these interviews, a questionnaire was issued to all employees of the company to identify if the approach taken from senior management is working. The case study findings highlight that there are policies and tools in place to comply equality legislation and to improve and enhance diversity. There is a positive attitude to implement and maintain steps to improve diversity with some incentives. However, the results of the questionnaire survey reveal that the main contractor lacks diverse workforce as the employment of women or ethnic minorities; majority of women in the organisation are on lower level positions. There is limited evidence to quantify the productivity improvements, nevertheless majority of the respondents believed that diverse workforce enhances productivity.
CitationHaizelden, J., Marasini, R. and Daniel, E. (2019) An analysis of diversity management in the construction industry: a case study of a main contractor, In: Gorse, C and Neilson, CJ, (eds.) Proceedings of the 35th Annual ARCOM Conference. 35th Annual ARCOM Conference, 02-04 Sep 2019, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management (forthcoming)