Gender And Ethnic In Construction Industry Sociology Essay Example
Gender And Ethnic In Construction Industry Sociology Essay Example

Gender And Ethnic In Construction Industry Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 7 (1886 words)
  • Published: August 22, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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The construction industry is an important contributor to the economy, creating jobs, yet it lacks equal opportunities in both workforce and workplace. Only a few industry stakeholders promote diversity and equality through their experiences and perceptions which help understand relevant environmental factors. The top issues where discrimination still exists are gender and culture within this focus group. To achieve greater workplace equality and labor market diversity, research should be conducted on stakeholder attitudes towards diversification and equality by implementing policies that establish practical initiatives for addressing inequality. Negative perceptions of women remain prevalent in the construction industry, hindering representation of certain groups and impacting its administration and culture. More effective measures must be taken to promote equal opportunities for underrepresented groups in order to address inequality in the construction industry's efforts towards promoting diversity.

Equality and Diversity: Theories and Co



A complex and controversial concept, equality has differing interpretations that can be addressed through a comprehensive policy approach to tackle cultural and structural determinants of inequality. While anti-discrimination laws ensure equal treatment for all individuals, policies with unbalanced effects on certain groups may violate this principle. However, justifiable criteria beyond race or gender can make exceptions acceptable. In the workplace, managing diversity strategically has replaced simply enforcing equal opportunities since the early 1990s due to changes in external environments and varying employee needs from different backgrounds. These two approaches differ significantly; while equal opportunities focus on legal compliance and quantitative improvements, diversity management adopts proactive strategies to improve work environment for all individuals by addressing all forms of diversity. Notably, the former assumes assimilation while the latter assumes pluralism.The need for organizations to adopt a holistic approach

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in promoting equality and diversity is underscored by the table created by Kandola and Fullerton (1998). This text presents an approach that differs from managing diversity as it takes a wider perspective on involvement and development of women and cultural minorities in the construction industry. In the UK's construction sector, women typically hold professional positions such as architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and town planning. Unfortunately, there are various obstacles that hinder women from entering or succeeding in this industry. These barriers include poor image of construction work, lack of positive role models for children and adults, gender-biased recruitment materials, peer pressure, negative educational experiences related to gender bias or sexism. Additionally, working conditions may clash with family responsibilities. Women's barriers often relate to policies/procedures in recruitment; organization culture; sexist attitudes; working conditions; physical demands that conflict with family obligations. Furthermore, compared to their wider representation in the economically active population at 6.4%, cultural minorities comprise only 1.9% of the workforce in construction.Interestingly, a larger percentage of Black and Asian people are enrolled in construction-related courses compared to their white counterparts within minority groups worldwide. However, the number of Black and Asian individuals who secure jobs in these areas following graduation remains low due to several factors. These include the lack of information about available jobs in construction, inaccessible channels for cultural minorities, the absence of cultural minority role models, and direct or indirect racial discrimination. These same factors contribute to exclusionary practices towards anyone who does not fit the white and male stereotype in the industry. Women also face similar barriers as cultural minorities during recruitment processes due to gender-based discrimination by line managers.

A more comprehensive approach to managing diversity can be achieved by comparing and analyzing experiences between these two groups within the sector.The table below compares the working experiences of women and ethnic minorities, highlighting informal recruitment practices as a common barrier to employment for women. In the construction industry, adult females are often excluded from information on job opportunities and promotions, directly or indirectly resulting in their exclusion from networking about employment-related matters. Women feel that inter-organizational mobility is essential to overcome career advancement barriers. Meanwhile, cultural minorities tend to leave larger companies and work for smaller firms run by people like themselves or become self-employed. Women face stereotypes of low job commitment due to assumptions about their child-rearing responsibilities; additional qualifications are necessary to be taken seriously. The male-oriented work culture imposes long hours and geographic separation from home on employees. Cultural minorities experience various forms of discrimination such as harassment, name-calling, intimidation, bullying or violence – frequently accepted as part of the industry's culture.This review discusses the employment challenges faced by women and cultural minorities in the construction industry, including discriminatory patterns at both individual and institutional levels. The UK building sector has been found to have issues with overt and covert racism and sexism, along with inflexible working arrangements and an unsupportive workplace culture. Formal policies for equal opportunities relating to gender and cultural diversity were not implemented by most companies. Instead, they tended to address such issues informally, which could result in selective or partial equality gains for specific individuals. Equal opportunities were viewed primarily as a means to tackle job-related concerns, potentially causing reluctance on the part of companies to

hire underrepresented groups given the need for additional policies and support provisions. Stakeholders expressed particular concern about costs associated with hiring such groups, such as providing female toilets or making buildings accessible for people with disabilities.The argument was made that female workers in construction should have the physical capability to perform tasks equal to their male counterparts. Adult females and cultural minorities possess necessary human capital, but some employers require women to outperform men for respect in a male-dominated field. Women and minorities feel they must be superior to white males for recognition, highlighting the need for cultural capital beyond formal qualifications. Unfortunately, these ideas reinforce masculine culture and exclude women. However, some employers believe that women and minorities make better workers due to their drive to surpass white men's standards. The industry perpetuates bias, stereotypes, favoritism, and harassment towards non-traditional entrants who face unequal career opportunities compared to white males in a white-male oriented environment.Despite previous studies, including Working Group 8 (CIB, 1996), which recommended policies to address discrimination in the construction industry and improve equality of opportunity, there is evidence that the industry only pays "lip service" to these issues. The lack of mention of the Working Group 8 report at national conferences on the Latham Report suggests a lack of support or action from the industry. Greed also notes instances of lip service at a micro level. While recent CITB research conducted by Royal Holloway in 1999 and Ansari et al in 2002 has recommended approaches for promoting diversity within the workforce, there is a lack of systematic evaluation regarding their effectiveness. However, there has been considerable interest in employing "best practices"

from other sectors such as retail, healthcare, broadcasting, and accounting. The recommendations provided by Working Group 8 highlight examples of best practices based on experiences from other industries that could be implemented within the construction industry.The exchange of best practice knowledge is now an integral part of Constructing Excellence, which encompasses the Rethinking Construction initiative and Construction Best Practice Programme. The concept of "best practices" has brought up various issues, including the significance of specific procedures and their consistency with one another. Claims that best practices are universally applicable have also been questioned. While it's essential to learn from other industries and sectors in an equal chances and diversity context, borrowing best practices without considering the unique structural and cultural environment of the construction industry is questionable. This includes challenges present in a project-based industry, as well as differences in culture and workforce compared to retail. Failure to address these issues may have contributed to limited success in increasing representation for women and minorities in construction through equal chances initiatives. Further case study research explores this position. The Institution of Civil Engineer (ICE) developed a code of practice that considers sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, among others for achieving equal chances within construction; however, some companies have ignored this code.The code presents practical recommendations to tackle the exclusionary practices, attitudes, and behaviors present in the construction industry. To ensure a fair assessment process for underrepresented groups, it is recommended that those responsible for public presentation assessments receive specific training. In addition, designating a staff member to handle complaints can promote effective communication. Although women's challenges balancing work and family are linked to their underachievement in

construction, research indicates that such struggles are not unique to one gender. The code highlights the need to challenge traditional gender roles and acknowledges that men may also need to undertake domestic duties. Research shows that men on construction sites often exhibit exaggerated masculine behavior including sexism and racism through suggestive remarks, physical contact or derogatory images of women. Reports indicate male chauvinism towards women and racist attitudes towards black people as well. Relationships within the industry are often characterized by conflict, disagreements and crises while hostility and intimidation create a challenging work environment for both minorities and women alike.A code of conduct was established to address the issue of negative relationships between workers with different genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, and abilities. The code prohibits sexist and racist language and actions as well as bullying and abuse. It emphasizes treating all co-workers fairly and respectfully regardless of differences. The code calls for training to raise awareness of appropriate behavior/language, challenge negative attitudes about women/minorities, communicate workers' rights to be free from discrimination/harassment. Positive action strategies have been found beneficial such as using "statements of encouragement" in job advertisements; promoting the tech profession to women/minorities through presentations at schools/career fairs; supporting them through mentoring/sponsorship programs in university courses/industry; developing mentoring programs for women/minorities in the industry.Furthermore, the codification suggests that employers urge educational institutions to tackle the issue of underrepresented groups lacking appropriately qualified candidates when applying for tech industry jobs. This problem has been acknowledged by multiple interviewees. Additionally, the actions and dedication of ICE are crucial to ensuring the impact of codification on equality and workforce diversity.


The importance of diversity

and equality remains a critical challenge in encouraging construction companies to incorporate them as integral components of their employment practices. While research indicates that these concepts are still not fully appreciated by construction companies in terms of addressing workforce diversity concerns, it is imperative for them to recognize its benefits as good people management practices. A more sophisticated approach should be adopted, identifying different drivers among various sectors (such as manual and non-manual, public and private), businesses, and industries within the construction workforce.In addition, there is potential for future research to investigate how diversity and equality objectives may be perceived differently by various components of the construction workforce. This includes exploring any divergent drivers for each component and determining whether certain aspects of diversity (such as gender, race, or disability) hold greater relevance or feasibility for specific groups within the workforce.

Furthermore, it is important to recognize that distinct business case statements for diversity and equality will likely exist across different levels and roles within an organization. This includes strategic, managerial, and operational levels as well as functions such as human resource management and procurement.

Overall, these inquiries are critical in establishing a strong foundation for understanding diversity in the construction industry and developing more effective communication strategies.

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