Get better soon

james wates bw 2018

The fallout from Carillion’s collapse and the recent gender pay gap data underline the urgent need for our industry to change

A common theme for my columns is the need for change in the construction industry. I do try to strike a balance between cajoling everyone to help hasten change and championing the great things that are already happening – as there are quite a lot of reasons to be optimistic – but recent developments warrant a return to the theme of needing more rapid change.

I would be remiss if I did not at least mention the gender pay gap. I know that there are a lot of positive things happening – within my own company and across the sector – to make us more inclusive and to attract more women to pursue careers in construction. I’ve written on this subject before on these pages (Diversity is All, 27 October 2017), and I do believe we are making progress, but the recent numbers have shown that construction has the highest gender pay gap of any industry sector in the UK. There is a median pay gap of about 25% in construction companies, two-and-a-half times the national average.

I won’t belabour the point, because I think we all accept that we’ve got to do better. But I wonder whether we all share the same sense of urgency. If we don’t achieve real improvement soon, we will be trapped at the back of the queue for talent and may fail to recruit the people we need to be successful.

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