The event has now drawn to its close, and the attendance seemed to me at least, to be back to pre-pandemic levels and there was a busy feel to the event. A significant difference I observed however, was that there is now far greater interest in people!
Did you notice the change in emphasis
at London Build, Olympia this week?
The event has now drawn to its close,
and the attendance seemed to me at least, to be back to pre-pandemic levels and
there was a busy feel to the event. A significant difference I observed
however, was that there is now far greater interest in people! I don’t mean
soft, cuddly, fluffy interest in people, but a creeping realisation that
actually, if the sector is to continue to deliver, not to mention grow, it
needs to treat its most valuable asset, its people, better. There was an
atmosphere that more needed to be done to attract the next generations to
consider the sector as a career destination.
What I see is that the breakouts and
presentations about working with schools, taking on Apprentices and Equity,
Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) are full whereas only 3 or 4 years ago we were
lucky to get a handful of people to listen to us. Indeed, an increasing number
of professional bodies, trade associations and contactors have EDI or
engagement specialist of their own staff now… a corner is being turned!
I am optimistic that this new focus
will have many benefits for the sector;
are huge amounts of research to show that focussing on diversity, health,
pretty much anything that demonstrates you care about the people who work for
you, drives up moral, productivity and yes profit.
type of cultural change relies on collaboration and in a sector that is
famously fragmented, examples of the benefits in increased impact and reduced
cost, can only help encourage working together.
that we are talking about people it is dawning on companies that the sector
isn’t visible to new recruits of all ages, and what is visible (limited aspects
of construction) isn’t attractive to large numbers of potential recruits so
maybe now we can collaborate, to improve the image of the sector and attract
we are having these discussions people are realising that it is one thing to
attract people to join the sector, but once they are here, we need to keep
them. This means implementation of proper employment processes and follow
through on EDI strategies; get rid of discrimination of all types (race, gender
etc), be flexible in employment terms, give more people proper employment
contracts and less “Gig economy” approaches etc.
Maybe I am looking for positive news to
support the work I have been doing for years, but I hope with the changes in
attitude, combined with the increased focus on ESG from major investors perhaps
there is reason to be optimistic?
Written by Terry Watts CEO of