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Equity Considerations

Diversity refers to the presence and inclusion of a wide range of individuals with varying characteristics, backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences in a particular setting or context. It encompasses differences in race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, physical abilities, religious beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and more. Diversity recognises and values the uniqueness and contributions of each individual, fostering a rich and inclusive environment that promotes equal opportunities, representation, and respect for all.


The sector is aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion. However, achieving diversity in the sector faces a considerable challenge – many of the existing workforce's lack of interest in embracing diversification. Therefore, the pursuit of diversity and inclusion is not without challenges.

As mentioned in other themes, there are concerns regarding the underrepresentation of Māori and Pacific people in supervisory or managerial roles. Industry leaders emphasise the importance of providing equal opportunities and support for career advancement to diversify these roles. However, there is a prevalent lack of cultural competency within parts of the sector, particularly among the organisation’s that consist of predominantly male, Pākehā aged 35 to 65. This poses a barrier to achieving genuine inclusivity. Organisations express its aspiration to enhance ethnic diversity within its senior leadership, councils and governance. Yet, these objectives sometimes encounter obstacles due to the limited cultural understanding. There appears to be a resistance to change with some and overcoming these challenges requires concerted efforts to promote cultural sensitivity and inclusivity throughout the sector – a job that needs to be done by all.

It’s important that the sector and supporting organisations, leverage existing resources and tools, to aid them on their journey. This includes resources and tools already developed within industry and the Construction Diversity Roadmap Report, published by the Construction Sector Accord and the associated tools.

Women are vastly underrepresented. In Scaffolding for example, 9 out of an estimated 1,000 apprenticeships, are women. This alarming disparity not only reflects a lack of diversity but also points to the absence of equal representation within the industry, further aided by the lack of good training providers promoting career paths for women within the sector. Career pathways need to be more visible and include roles that are not “on the tools”. Outlining diverse career pathways, earning potential, and the lack of debt associated with training could be appealing factors.

Additionally, providing support systems for women in the form of mentorship and membership in associations like the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) can be beneficial. An option is that “women who join trades should have a membership to NAWIC immediately paid by either the industry or the employer. $90 a year. Women need a mentor and support to help them with the ongoing issues.”

Employers who have taken the progressive step of hiring female workers in the sector have been astounded by their exceptional performance. The satisfied employers have praised the work of female crane operators, noting that “they can do the work just as well (as men) and they get on with people and staff relatively easily most of the time.” Yet, despite the apparent benefits of hiring women, they still “face ongoing barriers such as toilets, misogyny, and ‘being touched’ onsite by other male construction workers.” There have been several industry leaders who acknowledge that one of the main obstacles to attracting and retaining women into the industry stems from the behaviour of men, particularly the older generation, who continue to exhibit boisterous and disrespectful conduct. However, they also noted a positive trend among younger men, who are taking the lead and calling out inappropriate behaviour on-site. Leaders emphasise the need for collective action to address these issues and bring about transformative change.

Lastly, there is also needs to be thought given to how the sector can create more inclusive employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities The challenges faced by these individuals, known as Tangata Whaikaha, include difficulties in accessing transportation, lack of workplace support and supervision, limitations on benefits, discrimination and stereotyping, as well as limitations within existing systems and providers that discourage employment. Many businesses have been proactive with their approaches towards being inclusive, particularly with advancement in technology and as mentioned above, widening the scope to ‘off-the-tools’ roles.

  • Lack of Interest in Embracing Diversification

  • Indigenous Perspectives and Cultural Engagement

  • Support Systems for Women

  • Positive Experiences of Female Workers

  • Utilising Existing Resources and Tools

  • Ethnic Diversity

  • Equal Opportunities and Support for Career Advancement

  • Visibility of Career Pathways

  • Inclusive Employment for Individuals with Disabilities

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