Is There Enough Diversity in the Construction Sector?

Is There Enough Diversity in the Construction Sector?

“Britain will stop building in 2019”


This is the bold and bleak view of Kim Worts, External Affairs Director at RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).  It was based on the perceived failure of many firms in the land, property and construction industry to embrace inclusivity and diversity.

With much political capital made of the UK’s indefatigable need for affordable new homes to be built, RICS recently launched a new scheme called the Inclusive Employer Quality Mark.


The Six Key Principles

Property firms who sign up voluntarily must adhere to;

  • Continuous improvement
  • Leadership and Vision
  • Recruitment
  • Staff development
  • Staff engagement
  • Staff retention


This will see those firms doing more, such as:

  • Actively seeking to employ a more diverse range of talent from under-represented groups
  • Championing equal opportunities
  • Supporting flexible working practices


Property Aspects Magazine spoke with Charlotte Gallagher, Managing Director of P3 People Management. Charlotte comments, “The property industry will be bolstered by firms attracting the best people from all cultures and walks of life. With only 2% of construction sector employees being female, more needs to be done to encourage diversity.”

“Introducing flexible working practices and promoting the industry from grass roots education upwards will also help the cause. This will allow them to provide innovative, competitive solutions to clients’ complex issues”, concludes Charlotte.

A swathe of big names have already joined RICS’ scheme, from DTZ, Knight Frank and Savills to Colliers and Countrywide.

There are many efforts highlighting and increasing inclusivity and diversity in the property sphere such as those by

  • RICS
  • WICE (European Women in Construction and Engineering) Awards
  • NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction)
  • UCATT (Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians)
  • CIC (The Construction Industry Council)


Property Aspects Magazine also spoke with Barbara Goffioul, of PM Group. She is a judge on the 2016 WICE Awards and a Member of People Task Force at European Construction Institute.

Barbara explains, “The European Builders Confederation held its annual congress in June. Here, the construction demographic challenge, including the inclusion of more women and young people in construction, was debated.”

“The representation of women in the sector is slightly higher in the UK than the EU average but more efforts are needed to reach the level of diversity of Germany or the Nordic countries. From 2016 all publicly listed companies, in those countries, will have to enforce 30% of women on their management boards.”

Barbara concludes, “I also agree with Charlotte, that more needs to be done from grass roots education level. Since the economic downturn there has been a drop-off in the intake of apprenticeships. Yet it is vital for the industry to attract passionate people ready to take on a career in this exciting sector.”

The Inclusive Employer Quality Mark certainly seems to have been received positively by many property firms. Only the future will tell whether they will result in improving UK architecture, construction techniques and practices.


Property Aspects Magazine would like to thank Charlotte Gallagher and Barbara Goffioul for their contributions to this article. To find out more out them, please click on their interview links below

Charlotte Gallagher interview

Barbara Goffioul interview