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Baxi and Wolseley join coalition to tackle lack of diversity

Baxi and Wolseley have teamed up with leading organisations to launch a new coalition that aims to tackle a lack of diversity across the industry.

The Construction Inclusion Coalition (CIC) aims to raise standards on equity, diversity and inclusion, with an immediate focus in its first year on gender representation. The CEOs at organisations including Baxi, Bradfords, Ibstock, Knauf, Travis Perkins, Wavin, Wolseley, the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) and the National Merchant Buying Society (NMBS) represent more than 250,000 workers.

New polling has shown that only one-third (36 per cent) of people would feel confident that their female family or friends would be safe and respected if they joined the construction industry. The research of more than 2,000 adults also outlines the opportunity for the sector, with nearly half of people (46 per cent) saying they’d be more likely to actively seek out employment opportunities in the sector if it showed a stronger commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Karen Boswell, managing director, Baxi UK and Ireland, says: “Our sector is a critical part of the construction supply chain, and like construction, we are committed to attracting and retaining leaders from a diverse pool of talent. That means being clear on how we’re offering a desirable career path, where everyone feels respected and valued equally, giving all employees the opportunity for long-lasting and rewarding careers.”

The construction sector has one of the most rapidly ageing workforces in the UK, with research showing that close to 1 million workers – around one-third of the sector’s workforce – are set to retire in the next 10 years. Despite this, the industry faces challenges attracting and recruiting from a diverse pool of talent: currently, women make up 15 per cent, and those from ethnic minority backgrounds 6 per cent.

Simon Oakland, CEO of Wolseley Group, says: “Attracting a more diverse range of people to the construction sector is fundamental to the future of our industry. We will only achieve our shared goals around inclusion by working with our customers and partners across the wider construction sector.”

Coalition partners will collaborate and set up a network to share knowledge and resources across the industry, and create solutions that will make a difference. Progress will be tracked annually and shared in a public report.

The coalition is endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council.

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