I am a young, black female construction professional who on many occasions at site meetings would be assumed by the "lads" to be the secretary coming to take the minutes.
So how can construction weed out racial and sexual discrimination? Here are some of my ideas:
- Mandatory training should take place as part of corporate induction for all staff. Refresher courses should take place every two years to ensure information is up to date.
- Performance management and appraisals should incorporate compliance with the regulations on discrimination and managers should be rewarded for innovative methods of promoting equality within their workforce.
- Exit interviews should be carried out with every worker who leaves an organisation and the results analysed, with necessary changes being made.
- Display posters on anti-discrimination.
- Ensure a top-down, lead-by-example approach to anti-discrimination. Often not enough example is set by those higher up in organisations who should be carrying out good practice.
- Ensure that part of the curriculum of training for construction industry workers incorporates valuing diversity and the positive benefits of doing so.
- Educate workers about the meaning of different terms that, if not understood, can cause offence and result in unlawful discrimination.
Mary Pierre-Harvey MSc MRICS, via email.