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Roads Review: Encouraging diversity

VIC’s multi-billion-dollar regional road blitz underway

This month, we asked the industry’s decision-makers, ‘How can construction companies encourage more diversity in the workplace?’

Caroline Wilkie, CEO – Australasian Railway Association

Having a diversity and inclusion focus is important in supporting the long-term sustainability of the rail industry, particularly with a 70,000 skills gap in the face of an unprecedented $154 billion pipeline of infrastructure projects over the next 15 years. The ARA urges all organisations in the industry to champion greater diversity and inclusion by making their workplaces welcoming and safe to all. This could include diversity training to address cultural challenges, providing flexible workplace practices, undertaking gender pay gap analysis, mentoring and sponsorship programs, as well as developing and implementing inclusive workplace policies and practices. The ARA’s Women in Rail strategy supports businesses to build gender diversity. Attracting females into rail apprenticeships or rail training and attracting skilled or qualified female candidates are key challenges and promoting more women will be a crucial part of growing our workforce.

Katriina Tähkä, CEO – A Human Agency (A-HA!)/ AfPA D&I Committee Member

People want to work in an environment where they feel valued, respected and heard. When you ask groups of people why they don’t work in a particular company or industry it’s usually because they don’t feel welcome or like they ‘fit in’. Construction companies that consciously build a workplace culture which is inclusive of all people; and actively identify and overcomes any barriers to participation, will reap the rewards in terms of seeing a more diverse workforce wanting to work there.  Not sure what your current culture is like? A culture audit will make your action plan clear.

Jay Kattel, Group Manager, Workforce Development and Diversity – Coates 

Coates supports greater diversity in the construction sector through policies and plans that explicitly promote equal opportunities and representation. Implementing clear diversity and inclusion measures also helps progress workplace diversity, as does driving ownership and sponsorship from senior and middle management and the provision of company-wide inclusion training. Recruitment processes that focus on skills and qualifications rather than demographic factors and creating targeted partnerships with community organisations and underrepresented groups, is also an excellent way of identifying more diverse talent pools. Ultimately, creating a supportive and inclusive work culture that values different perspectives fosters and retains a diverse workforce.

If you or someone at your organisation is an industry leader and would like to be a part of this monthly column in 2023, please get in touch!

This article was originally published in the August edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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