Skip main navigation

Introduction and Aims of Week 2

What week 2 will cover.
Week 2 - Introduction written on white title card, in front of a book shelf.

During the second week our focus shifts to the built environment sector itself with a look at the demographics of the workforce in different regions around the globe. We will look at the available data to see whether the industry is broadly reflective of wider society or whether there is evidence of under-representation of particular groups in the industry. We will consider whether the data highlights barriers to the recruitment and retention of women, disabled people or people from different racial groups.

The materials will also consider research conducted by built environment agencies on the extent of the current shortage of skilled labour, with reference to any evident under-representation in the workforce and how resolving one issue may help address the other.

During week 2 we will also look at the potential business benefits for a commitment to a more diverse and inclusive industry. We will see reports published by globally respected organisations that demonstrate the correlation between a commitment to D&I and to profitability. We shall see evidence that the converse is also true, with companies with no commitment to fairness likely to under-perform their contemporaries.

You will also hear arguments that diverse and accessible companies tend to be more creative as they do not fall into the trap of ‘group-think’, limiting the options to meet diverse customers needs.

There will also be evidence that companies that recognise the contributions of employees rather than judge people on their personal characteristics are more satisfied and will return the respect with an average 30% discretionary effort. Furthermore, staff with higher rates of satisfaction are also less likely to leave and this, in turn, reduces recruitment and training costs.

Further considerations will be the reputational benefits of have a diverse workforce in increasingly global marketplace with an enhanced ability to recognise and respond to the varied cultural standards of different operating environments.

In addition, we will look at the developing aspiration of ‘Generation Z’ employees to work for companies that have a commitment to having a positive impact on their environment with commitments to sustainability and diversity and inclusion. There will also references to how a commitment to D&I can help organisations comply with local legislation and regulatory requirements that may be in place in respect of employment practices.

Your understanding will be enhanced with case studies of real-life examples and commentary from people working in the built environment sector who have overcome barriers to pursue a rewarding career. We will hear how we can learn from their personal experiences to change the sector for the benefit of everyone.

Questions for your consideration:

  1. Do you think that under-representation of particular groups in the industry (e.g. women, disabled people) has a positive or negative impact on workplace culture in the industry?
  2. Could addressing the barriers to proportionate representation in the built environment sector contribute to addressing the on-going shills and labour shortage?
This article is from the free online

Diversity and Inclusion in the Built Environment

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now