Ethnic minorities are being put off the construction industry due to its negative image and poor recruitment practices, a report suggests.
Research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that despite a rise in the proportion of ethnic minorities making up the construction industry workforce - from 1.9 per cent in 1999 to 3.3 per cent in 2009 - the figure was still way off the 7.9 per cent of the national workforce made up by ethnic minorities.
However, the inquiry reported that the industry was no less appealing to ethnic minorities than it was to white people, with 45 per cent saying they were interested in a career in construction, compared with a similar figure of 42 per cent for ethnic minorities.
Yet the Race Discrimination in the Construction Industry inquiry found that ethnic minorities were prevented from getting jobs due to a prevalence of word-of-mouth recruitment, a lack of job or career progression and problems making the transition from training to work.
Commissioner Kay Allen said: “To remain competitive and ensure that it has the right skills for the future, (the industry) must invest in training and recruiting the best candidates from the widest possible pool of talent.”
Recommendations to improve representation of non-white ethnic minorities in the industry include looking at training and education, recruitment and contracting, retention, unlawful discrimination and monitoring and influencing change.