Build Together: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Construction
October 18-22 is the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week, focusing on building a foundation for inclusion across the construction industry. The result of a consortium of six leading general contractors in the U.S. championing change, Construction Inclusion Week provides resources to cultivate a more inclusive construction industry.
The numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are startling; the industry is:
30% Hispanic or Latino.
And about 90% male.
Construction Inclusion Week is a time to have conversations and bring awareness of diversity needed in the industry.
DPR Construction, McCarthy and Mortenson are three companies making diversity, equity and inclusion a priority. Let’s take a look at how they are doing so.
A home for everyone.
To DPR, diversity, equity and inclusion are words that drive their vision to be a workforce where everyone is encouraged and empowered to be their best authentic selves.
“Inclusion and a feeling of belonging are fundamental. All people want to feel included,” said George Pfeffer, management committee member at DPR and co-chair of Construction Inclusion Week.
This feeling of belonging — of feeling like you can safely be your authentic self — is one that DPR is committed to making sure all their employees feel. DPR has companywide initiatives, such as Unconscious Bias and Build Belonging, that ensure their culture of diversity is continually developed.
DPR strives to reflect the rich diversity in the communities where they live, work, serve and build. They recruit at historically Black colleges and universities, minority-focused career events, job fairs for veterans, LGBTQI+ recruitment expos, professional women’s associations and more.
Diverse perspectives drive better outcomes.
Having been recognized as a Forbes Best Employer for Diversity for their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, McCarthy strives to reflect the communities and clients they serve. One hundred precent employee-owned, McCarthy sees differences as a way to bring richness of perspective to the company.
Though every client and community they serve is unique, the company has identified areas to ensure they are continuing to expand partner diversity, including developing project-specific inclusion plans, supporting minority contractor success through formal and informal mentoring efforts, encouraging all partners to make minority inclusion a priority, and tracking and reporting on their results.
In addition, the company has created McCarthy Partnership for Women to provide resources for recruiting, developing and retaining women in the construction industry. McCarthy is also committed to equal pay — fair and equitable pay for all employees.
Check out McCarthy’s robust diversity, equity and inclusion commitment here.
Together, everything is possible.
Mortenson is on a mission to achieve more diverse representation not only in their own company, but across the industry as a whole. With 40% of their workforce comprised of women and people of color, the company is making great strides to show how it can be done. Starting in 2015, Mortenson hired its first diversity coaches and held unconscious bias training for managers.
“We want generational and sustainable change that perpetuates more than one year,” said Dan Johnson, chief executive and president.
Mortenson does not shy away from what can be uncomfortable conversations because their goal is for team members to be their whole and authentic selves at work. The company has intentionally inclusive recruiting and hiring efforts, creates safes spaces for learning discussions and is developing industry forums to address systemic racism.
Ale Spray, business development manager – community engagement at Mortenson, shares what women and people of color want to see from their employers here.
A common theme throughout each of these companies’ diversity, equity and inclusion practices is safety. According to Merriam-Webster, safety is the “freedom from harm or danger” and is also a “place that is free from harm or danger.”
These companies each focused on making their workforce safe – not just physically on the job site, but also as a state of mind. They intend for each of their employees to feel comfortable safely being themselves.
For 25 years and counting, safety has been a core component of NCCER’s mission: To build a safe, productive and sustainable workforce of craft professionals. NCCER is proud to join the effort of Construction Inclusion Week, to advance diversity, equity and inclusion. After all, in the construction industry, all that matters is safety, skills and you.