The face of construction – seeing diversity in the norm.

Usually when people refer to diversity they talk about the diversity that they see or recognise; someone’s race, sex or disability. In an industry like construction where visible 111diversity is often lacking there can be a tendency to see everyone as the same: – the builder becomes a stereotype of a macho, hardened man; the QS, a staid controlling introvert; or the architect becomes a pair of fashionable glasses.

I happen to think these stereotypes are not only outdated but damaging – people who I know to be warm, caring and compassionate can act out of character in order to fit the norm imposed upon them. Whilst there is obviously a need to recruit, retain and support minority groups in industry, is there not also a need to celebrate and encourage the diversity we already have in the sector – even if we can’t see it?

We think so, in fact we see acceptance as a gateway-drug to better relationships, innovation and happiness in the workplace. With this is mind we are putting together a little campaign and we would like to know what you, the folks of the construction sector, think of it.

The premise is that just because you see me, it doesn’t mean you know me – we want to break out of our stereotypes and encourage others to see the diversity in the sector that we don’t always bring to work. We want to collect pictures of people working in construction with a board telling us 3 simple things

  1. Your name
  2. Your job title
  3. Something about you  which does not fit the stereotype of your  job role.

As you can see from the picture, I’ve started us off (any chess fans out there can find me on Chesscube or We hope to eventually use these pictures through social media to show the fascinating range of individuals in our sector; to highlight that being a builder (or other construction professional) is an important part of who we are, but not all of it, and it does not define our personalities, interests or beliefs.

So if you, like me, celebrate the diversity in the industry why not email, tweet, Facebook or pinterest your own mini biography #faceofconstruction and help us showcase the diversity of the 2.3million people working in the sector.

Long hours –big fines; why keeping up with changes to the national minimum wage is essential to the construction sector.

We wrote a blog a few months back looking at the problem of long hours in the UK construction sector. Back then we were looking at how the industry might not be so financially attractive to senior industry members when you compare hours to wage. This time we want to take a look at those at the bottom of the industry ladder and how the long hours that industry might be pushing your company towards working are breaking the law around the national minimum wage. ms1

BIS (The Department for Business Innovation and Skills) are promoting the changes to the national minimum wage through their spot the difference campaign, encouraging employers to ensure that they have met the legal requirements.  As they point out, the minimum wage, whilst not in itself a complex concept, can throw up some tricky situations. For example: – the hours worked; the need for protective equipment; and costs of travelling to work can all have implications.

Therefore, an apprentice paid the national minimum wage based upon a typical 40 hour week, who works an additional ten hours a week without additional pay, would now be earning less than the minimum wage.

The reason we in construction need to take a closer look at this is because, not only should we be paying our employees enough to live on as its good for business, BUT if after BIS have finished promoting the changes to the scheme they decide to go down the enforcement route you could find yourself on the receiving end of a rather large fine.

So take a look at the video, factsheet and supporting quizzes produced by BIS to make sure that you are doing what it takes to ensure your employees are receiving the minimum they require to live a decent life.