Cultural Issues Affecting Black and Minority Ethnic Entry in the UK Construction Industry

By Lisa Worrall, Vian Ahmed, Raju Pathmeswaran, David Baldry and Sabri Abouen.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The UK construction industry’s output is the second largest within the European Union and is the country’s largest employer. Within the UK, over two million people work in this sector and the latest national statistics predict a continued expansive growth as far as the year 2011. However, the construction industry is experiencing serious skills shortages and tends to lack an ethnic diversity of workers. Recent research has shown that although Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students in the UK are relatively well represented within most of the built environment disciplines within higher education (HE), very few ethnic minority graduates are actually entering the industry compared to their White counterparts. The majority of employers in the industry are facing ongoing recruitment difficulties and this increased loss of BME graduates exacerbates the skills gap. It can be stated that research into these issues within this sector is limited, especially with regards to individual, cultural and ethnic based factors. The European Social Funded BME in Construction project is attempting to identify the potential barriers and enablers (including culture) that contribute to the under-representation of BMEs within the construction industry. This paper outlines the findings from Company Directors, Human Resources Managers and employees that identify the potential cultural barriers that lead to the under-representation of BMEs within the UK construction industry. This paper concludes by putting forward a series of recommendations aimed at HE and the UK construction industry to facilitate the entry of BMEs within the industry and identifies areas of further and expanded research that are required over the longer term.

Keywords: BMEs, Black and Minority Ethnics, Construction Industry, Culture, Education and Skills, Organisational Cultures, Discrimination and Racism, Employment, Career Choice

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.275-284. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 534.841KB).

Dr. Lisa Worrall

Researcher, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, Salford, UK

Lisa Worrall is an experienced Research Fellow at the University of Salford, United Kingdom. Her research interests include metacognition and lifelong e-learning and she is currently involved in a number of research projects that facilitate the encouragement of organisational Equality and Diversity policies and practices.

Dr. Vian Ahmed

Director of Virtual Doctoral Programme and BME in Construction Project Leader, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, Salford, UK

Vian Ahmed is the Director of the Virtual Doctoral Programme within the School of Property Management. Her interests include the development of E-learning in construction, Learning Pedagogy, Construction IT, Construction and Project Management, 3D digital modelling, Web developments and issues surrounding the facilitation of Equality and Diversity within both Higher Education and the construction industry.

Raju Pathmeswaran

Researcher, Salford Centre for Research and Innovation, University of Salford, Salford, UK

Raju Pathmeswaran is an experienced researcher within the Salford Centre for Research and Innovation (SCRI). His interests includes E-Learning, IT and Equality and Diversity facilitation frameworks within the UK construction industry.

David Baldry

Associate Head of Teaching, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, Salford, UK

David Baldry is the Associate Head of Teaching within the School of the Built Environment at the University of Salford and a Chartered Building Surveyor and Construction Manager with experience in contracting organisations and the public sector. His interests include; Facilities Management, Project Management, Strategic property management, Corporate responsibility in the built environment and Equality and Diversity policies and practices.

Sabri Abouen

Researcher, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, Salford, UK

Sabri Abouen is an experienced researcher in Equality and Diversity issues, and is currently completing his Ph.D. within a construction based specialisation.

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