How to Build a Construction Culture of Diversity and Inclusion


There is growing awareness throughout the U.S. of the inequities that underrepresented communities face in the workforce. Construction is one industry that needs significant improvement in the area of diversity and inclusion.

Low percentages of the construction workforce are female, Black, or Latinx. At the same time, the industry is facing a labor shortage.

Casting a wider net to find additional workers would solve many problems. This requires commitment and work across all levels of the industry.

Implement the following guidelines to help create a culture of diversity and inclusion in the construction industry.

Prioritize Culture Change at the Job Site

Although buy-in at every level of the construction industry is required, the job site is where real change occurs.

  • A diverse and inclusive job site culture looks and feels welcoming.
  • This type of culture leads to increased safety and productivity.
  • Because each worker performs their best, the clients receive greater value.

Leadership and accountability are emphasized at every level.

  • Each worker focuses on their behavior and how it impacts the job site culture.
  • Workers find ways to improve their behavior for the good of their coworkers.
  • The focus is on making change a real priority.

Train on Unconscious Bias and Discrimination

Provide ongoing training for topics such as unconscious bias and discrimination on the job site.

  • Raise awareness of the issues and ways to reduce their frequency and lessen their impact.
  • Create a safe space for meaningful conversation among team members.
  • Encourage all workers to commit to concrete actions to improve the construction culture.

Define and promote commitment to the following four principles:

  • Recruitment and wage payment based on skills and experience, regardless of ability, age, ethnicity, gender identity, nationality, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.
  • Attraction of workers through the creation of workplaces free of harassment, hazing, or bullying.
  • Retention of top workers through identification and removal of barriers to advancement.
  • Empowerment of every worker to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion.

Discuss what a diverse and inclusive culture looks like on the job site.

  • Respectfully acknowledge workers’ differences.
  • Seek diverse opinions to resolve issues.
  • Clarify acceptable and unacceptable job site behavior.

Focus on Community Involvement

Encourage workers to engage in volunteer and outreach activities in the local community.

  • Support diverse community initiatives in meaningful ways.
  • Create an open dialogue between construction companies and community leaders.
  • Help improve the community by leaving it better than it was found.
  • Leverage the construction industry’s resources to create real social change.

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