BMF partners with leading organisations across construction industry to launch new coalition to tackle lack of diversity
- The BMF has partnered with 10 other major organisations across the construction sector to establish the Construction Inclusion Coalition (CIC) to improve equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the sector
- New polling shows nearly half of Brits (46%) say they’d be more likely to actively seek out employment opportunities in the construction industry if it demonstrated a stronger commitment to diversity and inclusion
- New coalition will initially focus on increasing collaboration, networking and knowledge sharing across the sector
The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has united with ten leading organisations in the construction industry, representing over two hundred and fifty thousand workers, to launch a new coalition that aims to tackle a lack of diversity across the industry.
The Construction Inclusion Coalition (CIC) has been established by CEOs at leading organisations including Aliaxis, Baxi, Bradfords, Highbourne Group, Ibstock PLC, Knauf, Travis Perkins PLC, Wavin, Wolseley Group, the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) and the National Merchant Buying Society (NMBS), to raise sector standards on equity, diversity and nclusion, with an immediate focus on gender representation in its first year.
The Coalition was launched today at the BMF Annual Conference in a session addressed by CIC Chairperson and Toolstation Managing Director, Angela Rushforth, and representatives of two CIC founder members, Sam Grierson, Customer Proposition Director & EDI Chair for Wolseley Group, and James Saunders , Chief People Officer of City Plumbing part of the Highbourne Group.
The Coalition is being launched alongside new polling which shows that only one third (36%) of British people would feel confident that their female family or friends would be safe and respected if they joined the construction industry. The research of over 2,000 adults also outlines the opportunity for the sector, with nearly half of people (46%) saying they’d be more likely to actively seek out employment opportunities in the construction industry if it demonstrated a stronger commitment to diversity and inclusion.
John Newcomb, CEO of the BMF says:
“This is a vitally important initiative for the building materials sector and others that make up the construction industry, which the BMF is proud to support. In common with other traditional industries, we are faced with an ageing workforce, and one that remains predominantly male and pale. As an industry we must act together to create an environment where opportunities are clearly available to a far wider demographic, to attract and recruit from the diverse pool of talent we have in this country.”
Construction Inclusion Coalition Chairperson and Toolstation Managing Director, Angela Rushforth says:
“Tere is no doubt that the future of our industry is at risk if we don’t create an environment where all our colleagues feel safe, empowered and confident. I want all young women to see the construction sector as I do - full of opportunity.”
“We aren’t attracting and retaining from a diverse pool of talent, because many think the construction sector is not for them. These are industry-wide challenges that require industry-wide solutions, which is why the Construction Inclusion Coalition has been set up to improve equity, diversity and inclusion. We are calling on businesses across the sector – no matter how big or small - to join our Coalition and commit to taking action in their organisations”.
The construction sector has one of the most rapidly ageing workforces in the UK, with research showing that close to a million construction workers – around a third of the UK’s total workforce – are set to retire in the next ten years.1 Despite this, the industry is currently only made up of 15% women and 6% from ethnic minority backgrounds2, and faces challenges attracting and recruiting from a diverse pool of talent.
Alongside Coalition Partners, the BMF is urging businesses across the industry to join the initiative and take the Built on Better Pledge. The pledge covers seven areas members commit to working on.
The initiative has already gained the support of Bosch, Gerberit and Independent Builders Merchant Group (IBMG) who have joined as Coalition Members, as well as the Construction Products Association (CPA), Energy & Utilities Alliance (EUA), Federation of Master Builders (FMB), National Buying Group (NBG) and H&B Buying Group (H&B) who have joined as Associate Members.
The BMF will work alongside other Coalition Partners to enhance the impact of their individual equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, by fostering collaboration and establishing a network to share knowledge and resources across the industry, and co-creating solutions that will make a difference. Progress will be tracked annually and shared in a public report.
The Coalition has been endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council, the leading body which draws together business leaders from across the construction sector and links them with the UK government.
Construction Leadership Council Co-Chair and CEO of Mace, Mark Reynolds says:
“The Construction Leadership Council has long been advocating for businesses and organisations in our sector to collaborate to make our industry more welcoming and inclusive. It is clear that ensuring a consistent approach to equity, diversity and inclusion will be vital for the future of construction, which is why we’re pleased to support the Construction Inclusion Coalition. There is much work to be done, however I am confident that sharing knowledge and raising standards, we can make a meaningful impact across the sector.”
About the Construction Inclusion Coalition
The Construction Inclusion Coalition is an industry wide effort with a singular objective to improve equity, diversity and inclusion across the construction industry, to ultimately retain and attract talent, and ensure the longevity of the industry. It has been formed by 11 founding members including: Aliaxis, Baxi, Bradfords, the Builders Merchants Federation, Highbourne Group, Ibstock plc, Knauf, the National Merchant Buying Society, Travis Perkins plc, Wavin, and The Wolseley Group. The Coalition is endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council, the leading body which draws together business leaders from across the construction sector and links them with the UK government.
The Built on Better Pledge
INSPIRE – Work together to inspire the next generation of leaders in the construction industry
- LISTEN – Conduct internal surveys on equity, diversity and inclusion, and to act on the main problems and barriers identified
- SHARE – Develop and share resources from within and beyond the construction industry
- SUPPORT – Support a healthy and collaborative workplace environment, and maintain
- a whistleblowing procedure where colleagues feel comfortable speaking out
- EDUCATE – Educate ourselves, our colleagues, and the wider industry
around aspects of equity, diversity, and inclusion
- MEASURE – Commit to benchmarking, tracking and sharing equity, diversity,
- and inclusion data within organisations
- REPORT – Assess our equity, diversity, and inclusion progress on an annual basis, publishing a report and outlining a plan for further action every year as a Coalition
Further information about polling
Portland Communications conducted an online survey with 2,009 members of the UK public aged 18+, between 24th and 27th July 2023.