The skills shortage is one of the most significant challenges facing UK construction today and is continually cited by industry leaders as one their biggest concerns for the future.
To tackle the problem, however, contractors need to think differently about who they employ and – crucially – where they go looking for new staff.
Skanska has embraced diversity as a business imperative, moving the agenda forward not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it recognises this as something it must do in order to compete for the talent the business needs if it is to thrive.
The firm has set up a diversity and inclusion action group, headed up in the UK by managing director Paul Heather, which creates defined focus areas and targets on D&I for the company, as well as securing buy-in from the senior management team and beyond.
Skanska already had a strong women’s network and has recently set up separate networks for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, as well as for employees with disabilities.
“They are currently setting a new standard for the industry on equality, diversity and inclusion. If all were to follow suit it could transform the sector for the better forever”
It also has a military network with more than 100 active members, while more than 40 ex-military personnel were recruited by the company in 2015.
The CN Awards judges said Skanska won our inaugural award for Diversity Champion of the Year because of the “depth and breadth of leadership supporting all strands of its diversity strategy.”
They added: “Skanska has provided resourced support to enable its supply chain to succeed, too.”
This supply chain support is shown through its membership of the Highways England Supply Chain Forum and the Build UK Steering and Image Group.
The contractor has also held events such as Changing Face of Construction to extend its efforts to serve as an industry leader on D&I.
With work being carried out in a huge range of areas, the breadth of Skanska’s work on diversity is truly impressive and has set the company apart from its peers.
On nominating the firm for the Supreme Award, one judge said: “Skanska is currently setting a new standard for the industry on equality, diversity and inclusion.
“If all were to follow suit it could transform the sector for the better forever.”