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The business case for diversity and inclusion

Diverse workforce brings fresh perspectives, reduces turnover, fosters innovation, says president of Canadian Construction Association
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The Canadian construction industry is looking for workers.

“Construction is facing a talent shortage all across Canada,” said Mary Van Buren, president of Canadian Construction Association (CCA). “There is a looming shortage because many experienced workers are retiring and because of a decline in the number of newcomers to the country.”

To fill the gap, Van Buren said, the industry must focus its recruitment efforts on traditionally underrepresented groups, such as women, Indigenous Canadians and new Canadians.

“Those construction companies that can attract a diverse workforce will succeed,” said Van Buren.

“More diversity leads to better decisions, which leads to more success.”

The CCA said there are solid business reasons that back diversity and inclusion in the construction workplace.

Accelerate innovation with fresh ideas

Diverse perspectives reduce the risk of groupthink, as well as the temptation to do things the way they’ve always been done.

Cultural differences bring in new ways of thinking, and women introduce fresh perspectives and new ideas about the best way to get the job done.

Increase productivity, revenue

Exclusionary behaviour makes employees feel they don’t belong. Not only is that bad in its own right, but it also hurts productivity and company revenue.

Exclusion reduces the mental and emotional connection employees feel to their employer, and that’s bad for business.

Reduce employee turnover

Fostering an inclusive culture as part of a robust human resources and talent management strategy helps reduce employee turnover and gives companies a competitive edge when hiring because many prospective employees believe an inclusive organization is a better place to work.

Drive a positive safety culture

Diversity and inclusion improve safety by encouraging input from all employees. It creates engagement among a larger group of people and makes it easier for employees to bring attention to unsafe behavior.

Expand market share with supplier diversity

Businesses owned by minorities and women generate large amounts of revenue and employ scores of people.

Working with suppliers who practice diversity and inclusion has many benefits. Not only is it good for business, it also helps attract and retain top talent and improves a company’s reputation with its customers.

Enhance your reputation, expand your customer base

Having a diverse group of employees helps businesses understand and meet their customers’ needs.

Taylor Manhas, safety co-ordinator at Westcana Electric Inc., which has offices throughout B.C., says the company recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion on all its work sites.

“We believe in not only the importance of hiring diverse employees, but training and working to retain them as well,” Manhas said. 

To find out more about the many career opportunities in construction, go to •