The Intersection of Inclusion, Diversity, and Risk Management in the Construction Industry

AuthorBy Lance Currie, Amy Iannone, and Claudia Mandato
Published in The Construction Lawyer, Volume 41, Number 1, Winter 2021. © 2021 American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof
may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.
The Intersection of Inclusion,
Diversity, and Risk Management
in the Construction Industry
By Lance Currie, Amy Iannone, and Claudia Mandato
Many construction companies
are embracing the need for a
vibrant and diverse workforce,
making strong efforts to build
diverse and inclusive cultures.
Study after study shows prot-
ability and ingenuity are directly
tied to inclusivity and diversity,
as diverse peoples spark innova-
tive ideas. Beyond the benets,
companies also recognize the
risks involved in failing to create
a healthy, diverse, and inclusive
culture. Indeed, limited work-
force diversity has been named
a “top 20” risk facing the con-
struction industry.1 This article
addresses many aspects of the
intersection of inclusion, diver-
sity, and risk management, with
a goal of shedding light on why
so many companies and busi-
ness groups recognize how
critically important it is to
improve inclusion and diver-
sity throughout the construction
State of Diversity and Inclusion in
the Construction Industry
The construction industry, like many others, has seen
some improvements in the diversity of its workforce, but
there is signicant room to grow. Women make up 51%
of the U.S. population and 52% of the workforce,
only 9.9% of the workers in the construction industry
were women in 2018.3 This number is up, however, from
9.1% in 2017.
Race has also seen incremental change,
with approximately 57.7% of the construction industry
identifying as non-Latino whites in 2018, down from 59%
in 2017.5
Leadership in the construction industry still appears
to consist primarily of white men. Of construction man-
agers as dened by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 91.8%
identied as white and only 7.7% were women in 2018.6
Note that those who identify as white includes many
Latinos, with 89% of Latinos in the workforce identify-
ing themselves as white.
Nevertheless, those who identify
as Latino made up only 15.3% of construction managers
and 23% of construction supervisors, despite constituting
30.7% of the overall construction industry. In contrast,
Latinos made up 47.6% of construction laborers.
But while the construction industry is lagging in
some areas, trends point toward a more diverse future.
According to a report issued in 2018 by the Diversity &
Inclusion Council of the Associated General Contractors
of America (AGC), it was projected that by 2020 more
than 50% of businesses entering the construction indus-
try will be minority or female owned.8 Efforts across the
industry are working to drive change. AGC’s Diversity
& Inclusion Council provides leadership development
and career advancement opportunities, as well as busi-
ness development through education and networking.
Many construction companies have initiated diversity
and inclusion efforts. But much more progress is needed.
Risks Aliated with Lack of Diverse Workforce
Opportunity Risks
Having a comprehensive diversity and inclusion pro-
gram is not only a sound business and legal strategy for
a construction industry employer, it is sound risk man-
agement. Workforce management and talent optimization
has been identied as one of the leading risk management
challenges that the construction industry will face over
the next 10 years.
Understanding and implementing
appropriate diversity and inclusion strategies will help
companies attract and retain top talent.
Over the past decade, the construction industry has
been struggling to recover from a downturn in the econ-
omy that left the industry without a sufcient number
of qualied workers to handle the volume of construc-
tion that is being performed across the country today.
When millions of workers were laid off in the economic
downturn starting in 2006, many of them did not return
to the industry.12 Contractors, design professionals,
and construction owners have since been strategizing
on how to best attract, train, and retain talent in their
rms. At the same time, “[t]he construction industry is
not viewed as an attractive employer,” in part because of
a “lack of diversity in the workforce.”13 Thus, creating a
diverse and inclusive work environment is a big piece of
Lance Cur rie
Amy Iannone
Claudia Mandato

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT