How Diversity is Vital for the Future of the Construction Industry

diversity construction industry

In this day and age, we constantly hear about the need for diversity in business. While this is something that is frequently discussed as a corporate strategy, the reason why diversity is so important in life, the workforce and in particular, the construction industry, isn’t always explained. 

In reality, diversity has been proven to increase productivity in not only individual industries but in entire economies. One example of the success of diversity is in Singapore. When they achieved independence in 1965, they aggressively promoted ethnic and racial integration. This tiny South-East Asian island nation, with a population of just over five million, is today one of the globe’s heavyweight financial centers. It scores highly in international rankings for areas such as education and ease of doing business and has been recognized as the world’s most technology-ready nation. This nation also has a female workforce percentage of 42%, which is higher than the global average of 39%.

In another example, a Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation. This means that including diversity in the workforce is not only good for productivity but also for profits in the long run. Since diversity makes such a difference in businesses and economies around the world, imagine the kind of progress we can make when we strengthen diversity and inclusion in the construction industry.

In the construction industry, a survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that only 9.9% of construction professionals are women, 30.7% are Hispanic or Latino, 6.2% are Black, and 2% are Asian. Clearly, there is much more work to be done, and doing so brings more representation into the industry as a whole, and makes it more profitable to both the people and the company revenue. 

The first step into creating more diversity in the industry is to educate yourself and start the conversation. We have cultivated five sessions that will take place at Autodesk University (November 17-20)  to heighten your understanding of diversity and its effects on the industry. Plus one bonus webinar you can attend before AU.

Autodesk University Diversity and Inclusion Sessions

AU 2020 is happening November 17-20. You must register in advance to access content in sessions. 

Blacks in AEC: Perspective of Diversity and Inclusion

Speaker: Clifton Cole, Director of Virtual Design & Construction, PENTA Building Group

This session will be a panel from Blacks/Minorities in AEC related roles discussing the impacts of diversity and inclusion on the construction industry. The questions will be focused on how the impacts of AEC have affected the industry globally and how we can address these issues of skills shortages by retaining and supporting diverse groups such as minorities. This class is aimed to bring awareness, establish dialogue, and engage a community of Blacks/Minorities in AEC.

Read more: How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion: Insights from Black Construction Professionals

How Media Can Help Drive More Diversity in the Construction Industry

Speaker: Niyati Desai, Public Relations & Communications Manager at Autodesk

There are factions of diversity across the construction industry, and representing them in media is one way of signaling to additional diverse talent that there’s a place for them in the industry. But today, if you scroll through a construction-related content feed, you’re still likely to see and hear from people who look a lot alike. How can we change that? A diverse panel of representatives from the media and construction industries will review what some of the challenges in showcasing diversity in media, and how we can address them to be more inclusive. The discussion will help spark ideas on new topics for coverage and the presentation of content with inclusion in mind, so the media industry can help drive diversity across the construction industry.

A Discussion on the Diversity Problem in the AEC Industry

 Speaker: Purvi Irwin, Practice Manager, Architecture, CADD Microsystems

In the US, the AEC industry has historically had issues with diversity in every sense of the word. What can be done to be more inclusive and welcoming to all people? This roundtable will build upon topics discussed in last year’s Women in BIM panel, continuing to identify some root causes of this disparity and discuss strategies that we can all use to both advocate for ourselves and others. Discussion topics may include: What groups are historically underrepresented in the AEC industry and why? What strategies can we start employing now to be more inclusive in our hiring practices and to shift our collective view? How can we actively encourage and nurture the next generation to pursue careers in the AEC industry?

Social and Economic Equity: How to Support and Advance Minority-Owned Enterprises in AEC

Speaker: Amie Kromis, National Director of Vendor Diversity, Skanska

Although programs focusing on the growth of minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs) have been in existence for decades in the US the growth of these firms in the AEC industry has either remained constant or diminished. In this fireside chat, Amie Kromis will speak with the CEOs of three MBEs in the AEC industry. The conversation will explore how the AEC industry can support MBEs through the lens of these companies’ successful -- yet unnecessarily challenging -- experiences in building capacity and competing on their own.

Equity & the Built Environment: A Conversation on DEI in the Industry

Speaker: Esther Dsouza, Product Marketing Manager, Autodesk

Join this conversation to hear from a panel of diverse black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) voices who work towards improving the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the AEC industry, not just in academia and professional practice but also in how design bias and underrepresentation reinforce endemic design inequities. 


Advancing the Industry: Women in Construction

November 11, 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET  - Register Today!

The construction workforce is evolving in many positive ways, especially as it actively embraces diversity and technology. Still, it remains one of the most male-dominated industries in the world. Out of the over 10 million construction workers in the US, just over one million are female. So, why the lack of women in construction? Many companies have taken steps to make a more diverse and inclusive workplace in recent years through technology and safety. In this presentation we will spotlight several of these companies and how they are employing different tools to increase diversity.

Learning about diversity is the greatest first step you can take in order to make a difference in the construction industry. Although it will take time in order to see the profitability of diversity in the industry. We can all start with small steps in order to make a big difference for the future. Ready to join the conversation? Register for AU 2020 here.

Alexa De La Parra Ramirez

Content & Communications Coordinator, Autodesk Construction Solutions