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 diversity 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I happen to think these stereotypes are not only outdated but damaging – people who I know to be warm, caring and compassionate can act out of character in order to fit the norm imposed upon them.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
- Your name
- Your job title
- 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 Chess.com). 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.