Offensive language still commonplace in construction



A survey published by CITB, and reported in Construction News, has found that sexist, racist and homophobic language can still very much be heard on UK construction sites.

An online survey revealed that 61.2% of more than 500 construction workers said that they had heard sexist language in the past year, and 13.8% hear it at least once a week.

The survey also revealed that racist language has been heard by 53.4% of people within the last year, with 13.8% hearing it in the last week.

The use of ageist language is unfortunately not much better, with 51.2% of the people surveyed hearing it in the past year, and 12.8% in the last week.

Finally, homophobic language fares slightly better but it is still reported as being heard in the last year by 48% of people, and 10.8% hearing it in the last week at least once.

sexism-racism-etc-language-2The survey proves that there is still much work to be done within the industry in order to attract the very best talent. The Government’s Construction 2025 document, which outlines where they believe the industry should be in 11 years, places a great deal of importance on people and wants the industry to be known for its talented and diverse workforce.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has been committed to promoting Equality and Diversity within the industry for a number of years and this has been brought into sharper focus following the introduction of the Equality Act in 2010.

CITB has devised the Be Fair Accreditation Framework which is an industry specific standard that provides a structure for employers to address fairness, inclusion and respect within their organisation. The accreditation is awarded by CITB to achieving companies and will help them realise the business and commercial benefit of fully understanding, embracing and harnessing the diversity of the workforce, their customers and the culturally diverse environment in which they work. For more information on the Be Fair Framework, click here.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice is made up of five key sections, which includes ‘Valuing the Workforce’. Within this section, the Code asks all registered sites and companies to ‘provide a workplace where everyone is respected, treated fairly, encouraged and supported’. This means sites should be doing all they can to not only attract a diverse talent into the industry but support them and develop their talent.

Unfortunately, as the survey highlights, the industry still has some way to go before it can truly be seen as a sector which accepts and embraces equality and diversity, which will only impede its future growth. Sites and companies registered with the Scheme understand the importance of a talented and diverse workforce and should be leading the way in securing the industry’s future through to 2025 and beyond.

To view the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice, click here

To view the Government’s Construction 2025 document, click here