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Construction Sector Accord Partnership Builds Sustainable Workforce

The Construction Sector Accord is partnering with Diversity Works New Zealand, the national body for workplace diversity and inclusion, to build a sustainable workforce for the construction sector.

Accord Director Dean Kimpton says the old ways of working won’t stand up to the future challenges the sector faces.

“We want to encourage more diverse talent into the construction sector and shift away from our traditional way of attracting, recruiting, retaining and growing people - the status quo isn’t working.

“Construction as a sector is made up of an expansive variety of creative and rewarding careers yet we are struggling to attract and retain a diverse range of people into these jobs.

“We are embarking on this project with Diversity Works New Zealand to better understand how we can improve diversity, equity and inclusion and, ultimately, to better reflect the communities who live and work in the environments we create.”

One of the biggest challenges facing the construction industry is the shortage of people and skills throughout the sector, impacting its capacity to deliver the growing pipeline of construction projects. Women make up only 18 per cent of the construction-related workforce in New Zealand and Māori and Pasifika are underrepresented in the skilled professions and at leadership level.

“The industry has exciting initiatives underway to meet some of these challenges through the work of the Diversity Agenda, the National Association of Women in Construction and Women in Trades, as well as organisations like Keystone Trust.

“We are looking forward to building a roadmap with Diversity Works New Zealand to transform the sector to better invest in and promote diversity, so that we can become a sector that welcomes and celebrates people of all identities and backgrounds.

“This partnership with Diversity Works will bring us one step closer to achieving this goal,” says Dean Kimpton.

Diversity Works New Zealand Chief Executive Maretha Smit says one of the first steps will be to get a clear understanding of current diversity and inclusion practices within the construction industry.

“This research will give us robust data, and a sense of the diversity landscape across the various trades in the sector and how that’s impacted by organisation size.

“The assessment tools used in this research will also empower organisations to benchmark themselves against their peers and to develop organisation specific goals and interventions to create sustainable workforces.”

It’s the first time that in depth research is being conducted on diversity and inclusion practices across a whole sector, Smit says. “This is especially significant as the construction sector is critical to our economic recovery post Covid and the opportunity to expand into diverse talent pools will ensure that this recovery is more equitably shared across the workforce that was impacted by Covid.”

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