There is an opportunity for construction and infrastructure to really get ahead and make a positive impact on society. The pressing issues of climate change and the net-zero targets that have been set by government may seem ambitious, but they could also be just what is needed to usher in change. Just as the attitude towards tackling climate issues is changing for the better, so too is the realisation that embracing diversity is an opportunity rather than a challenge.
The infrastructure and construction sectors have a huge role to play if the UK is to achieve its ambitious net-zero targets. Part of that process is going to be acquiring new expertise that can help drive change. Construction and engineering are predominantly male dominated industries with only a handful of female professionals choosing to enter or stay in the sectors. However, in the fields of conservation, scientific research, and technological innovation expertise is shared by people from very diverse backgrounds including many women.
Out the box thinking
Because the world has been so entrenched in a linear economy for centuries, righting the wrongs and trying to mitigate the impacts of climate change is going to require new strategies and a completely new way of operating. Expecting the same groups of people who have been operating the traditional way for decades to be able to suddenly go in a new direction is asking a lot of them, especially when it’s not their area of expertise. But bringing in diverse, cross sector expertise will be a catalyst for change. It will enable innovation, empower creative thinking and allow commercial directors to concentrate on operational tasks while having a team of experts to provide input on what changes could be implemented.
A different approach to handling risk will be required, as well as considering which technologies could provide efficiencies. Collaboration will empower better decision making and problem solving. And giving employees the freedom to share their ideas and recognising their input can help create a better corporate culture. One that is progressive, agile and able to adapt to unexpected challenges or opportunities.
Change is most impactful when the benefits are shared by everyone, because then everyone has a vested interest in making it work. When people from diverse backgrounds can say that they were a part of that change, we will be creating a healthier working environment and stronger construction industry.