Obstacles to diversity in construction: the example of Heathrow Terminal 5

Clarke, Linda and Gribling, Maria (2008) Obstacles to diversity in construction: the example of Heathrow Terminal 5. Construction Management and Economics, 26 (10). pp. 1055-1065. ISSN 0144-6193

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01446190802326776


Why does the construction industry remain a predominantly white, male, able-bodied enclave, despite all the efforts made to make it inclusive? What are the real obstacles to women, those from ethnic minority groups, in particular black and Asian, and those with disabilities entering and remaining in different construction occupations? The recruitment, employment and working conditions on a major and prestigious project in London, Heathrow Terminal 5, where concerted attempts were made to include the local diverse labour force and to improve representation of different minority groups, are examined. Given the high level of building activity, client encouragements and serious skill shortages, the fact that the demand for construction labour was not met by the ready supply of local labour and trainees suggests that the obstacles to inclusion are not related to demand or evident supply factors. Inappropriate provision of training, as well as employment and working conditions, shape the exclusivity of the construction industry. The conclusion drawn is that adherence to traditional practices—old-style apprenticeships, craft-based skill structures, an itinerant workforce, and intensive deployment of labour—are the real basis of the construction industry's lack of diversity. The study is part of a project for the Greater London Authority (GLA) on diversity performance in the London construction industry, conducted jointly with the Working Lives Institute of London Metropolitan University (GLA, 2007). It is based on semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, including representatives of the client BAA, contractors, trainers from a Further Education College, ConstructionSkills, union organizers, convenors and officers, and workers. The aim is to provide an industry perspective of the issues related to diversity in construction.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: University of Westminster > Westminster Business School
Depositing User: Miss Nina Watts
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2009 14:59
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2011 12:06
URI: http://westminsterresearch.wmin.ac.uk/id/eprint/6319

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