Diversity and inclusion is quite a hot topic in almost every workplace. With the construction industry being no exception. Businesses are becoming proactive in hiring and working with a diverse group of professionals, which comes with both benefits and challenges.
For business leaders, having to manage a team that ranges from ages 16 to 60 can be quite a challenge. While age diversity is definitely something to celebrate, it will be difficult if not impossible to keep everybody happy.
A workforce with a diverse age group would mean that each generation is at such a different stage in their careers and would probably have different needs and goals when it comes to work.
On the brightside though, research shows that 85% of professionals worldwide agree that an age-diverse team brings in fresh ideas and innovative solutions. This is beneficial not only for the company to grow its bottom line but also for all of its employees.
In the construction industry, the lack of diversity is a problem. Whether it’s on the drafting table or at the job site, middle-aged men predominate the industry. Age diversity is needed to attract enough highly qualified and experienced engineers and construction professionals to support the next ten years of major infrastructure investments. Therefore, excluding more than 50% of potential candidates will not help the industry move forward.
Benefits of an Age-Diverse Construction Team
Though construction may be a bit behind other industries, more companies are taking the initiative to foster a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Diverse perspectives can prevent the tendency of companies doing things the same way they’ve always done it and reduce the risk of groupthink. In the 2018 study “Delivering through Diversity,” McKinsey reports that firms with diverse executive teams are more likely to outperform their competitors.
With these new ideas brought to the table, it also affects the productivity of the firm. Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiatives deliver intangible benefits such as innovation and creative problem-solving. Being able to find new solutions to old problems or inefficient processes results in having an effective workforce where all team members are supported to work at their full potential.
In order to come up with innovative solutions for building challenges, we need diversity that goes beyond gender, age and ethnicity. Businesses should also look into values, outlook, experience and behavior of their staff.
We are living in a diverse world. It’s time to embrace change and leap to the future. Industry leaders need to admit to themselves that they may not have all the ideas, which their juniors may be able to provide.
D&I infuses firms with innovation, fresh perspectives, and a willingness to consider alternatives. With a more diverse workforce that could lead to better decision-making and problem-solving, construction companies can outperform competitors, grow their client base, and ultimately make a difference.