Diversity Panel Discussion – Wednesday 18th May 2022 – National Roads and Traffic Expo, ICC Sydney
I recently had the pleasure of hosting a diversity panel discussion at the National Roads and Traffic Expo at the ICC in Sydney. I was joined by a fantastic line up of industry professionals to explore if things have really changed.
The construction industry is Australia’s third largest employer. It is critical to delivering the $225 billion investment in public infrastructure over the next four years and plays a key role in Australia’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
However, the industry is plagued with traditional ways of operating. The hours of work are excessive and unhealthy, the workforce lacks diversity, and stress levels, mental illness and suicide rates are amongst the highest in country. A recent report from BIS Oxford Economics, The Cost of Doing Nothing, found that these cultural issues are costing the Australian economy nearly $8 billion annually.
Our conversation identified that urgent change is needed to prevent the losses, but also to support the future sustainability of the industry.
Every sector in Australia is experiencing skills shortages. How can we ensure that construction secures a strong future pipeline of workers?
We identified that, while there have been some gains, real transformation is needed at a deep cultural level across the industry to experience sustainable change. It is important to keep having the conversation. However, now is the time to act!
I love being part of the Australian construction sector. It may have its challenges, but we also have a strong desire to make change. Diversity is not just a women’s issue; it is everyone’s issue. We need to support all workers across the industry as they are building our future.
I will leave you with the three key takeaways from the discussion:
- The construction industry desperately needs an image makeover.
- We need to reduce hours of work and promote better health and wellbeing.
- We need to focus on building more diverse and inclusive teams and cultures.
Clare Fenwick, Business Development Lead, MCE