Equal gender representation
Over the years, the surveying industry has struggled when it comes to inequality, exclusion and a lack of diversity. According to a recent article published by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), it’s thought that women make up only 10% of the workforce in the construction industry. Those who do work in this sector are still facing a gender pay gap and various barriers, resulting in many women still not being considered for promotion.
Unconscious biases around women are common, such as being more susceptible to injury, not being suited to workwear or able to use equipment. There are still considerably fewer female surveyors in the industry, as well as less representation across different ethnicities and the LGBTQIA+ community. There are also a large number of companies that do not have any equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) policies in place.
Inclusive attitudes towards diversity
Diversity covers a range of characteristics, including (but not limited to) gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, and socio-economic background. Many companies are actively seeking to attract and retain talent from diverse backgrounds. Targeted recruitment helps, but ultimately, encouraging underrepresented groups to join the industry should start in educational settings. Young people need to feel inspired to work as surveyors.
From an inclusion perspective, there has been an increase in the number of surveyors from different religious backgrounds, and more awareness of their needs. RICS recently highlighted the importance of encouraging inclusivity for Muslim professionals who wanted to celebrate Ramadan. There has been a rise in construction sites offering spaces for Muslims to pray, for example, and flexibility over the fasting element of Ramadan.
The importance of equality, diversity and inclusion
Embracing equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the surveying industry brings a multitude of benefits. Firstly, it fosters innovation and creativity. Diverse teams bring together different perspectives, ideas and experiences, leading to more innovative solutions and approaches to problem-solving. By including a broader range of people, the industry can draw from a greater pool of expertise.
Secondly, an inclusive surveying industry helps to build trust and confidence among clients and the wider community. Many companies have EDI policies, actively encouraging representation across internal areas of their business, as well as suppliers and contractors. When people see themselves represented in a profession, they are more likely to engage and collaborate, which in turn encourages more people to join the industry.
Equal pay and opportunities for career advancement are also crucial when it comes to ensuring fairness within the surveying industry. Transparent pay scales and regular reviews could help to address any existing gender or ethnic pay gaps. Mentoring programmes and professional development initiatives could help underrepresented groups access more career progression opportunities.
Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in surveying
Promoting equality means creating an environment where every individual, regardless of their background, has an equal opportunity to thrive. In the surveying industry, this could be achieved by implementing fair and transparent recruitment processes, focusing on skills and with an awareness of unconscious biases. Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies work better when they have measurable goals and targets to track progress.
Creating an inclusive workplace culture is equally important. Inclusion goes way beyond just representation; it’s about creating an environment where everybody feels welcome. Encouraging open, respectful dialogue with an appreciation for diverse perspectives will help people to feel valued. Assess policies and practices to identify and remove any barriers that could be affecting underrepresented employees.
Address unconscious biases, promote flexible working arrangements, and provide training on diversity and inclusion topics for all staff members. By actively involving employees from diverse backgrounds in decision-making processes and leadership roles, the surveying industry can become more reflective of society.
Like any other sector, the surveying industry has a responsibility to champion equality, diversity, and inclusion. By embracing these principles, the industry can unlock new opportunities for growth, innovation, and collaboration. An inclusive workplace culture will enable surveying firms to become more representative and respected. It is a collective effort, but together, let’s create a surveying industry that reflects the rich diversity of our society.
Giromax believes strongly in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion across the surveying and construction industry. Our team includes women in senior and technical roles, and we actively encourage everyone to take part in professional development and training.