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A Table Worth Sitting At

I want you to imagine for a moment, if you would, that you are sitting at a table with ten other people. Now it doesn’t matter what race, gender, sex, or age you are, just visualize a situation where you are the minority. Eight of the people sitting at the table are the same race, and nine of them are the same gender. In fact, imagine a tenth person is sitting on the edge of your chair in an uncomfortable seesaw of both trying to cram yourselves into the same small surface.

This is what it looks like to be a minority in the construction industry.

As of last year (2017) over 88% of the industry was white and over 90% were men.

You might be asking yourself what the problem is with this picture, why it’s a troubling picture for someone that doesn’t exist in those high percentages? The answer is difficult to explain without the metaphor above. Not only are you existing in a space where you occupy only one seat (or maybe less than one seat) at this table of ten other people, but those people share experiences, lifestyles, upbringing, cultural standards. They aren’t identical, but they all have different experiences than you have had.

When your workplace becomes a place where you can’t relate, then it also becomes a place where you can’t effectively communicate, and in a field where every day you are building homes, schools, roads, hospitals and stores — that communication is key.

Our workforce is aging, and quickly. The median age for construction workers is 42 to 46 and those people are getting ready to retire. They are moving out of the industry and leaving a vacuum in their wake. A vacuum that has been difficult to fill, because in the years that construction has grown it has barely evolved in the way it promotes itself.

In order for this industry to grow, it must evolve. This table has to include seats for the demographics it has missed.

But how do you join the conversation? How do you step up to the table when the conversation isn’t something you understand?

You speak anyways, you plant yourself in your seat, and you tell your peers that those seats will be empty soon and that there is room for them. We need minorities and diversity in order for our industry to thrive, to grow, and to be a positive place with a wide variety of experiences that help us move forward.

This table belongs to everyone. It belongs to you.

Raise Awareness Tweets:

“As of last year, 2017, over 88% of the industry was white, and over 90% were men.”
“In order for this industry to grow, it must evolve.”
“This table belongs to everyone. It belongs to you.”

#ConstructReach #Constructdiversity #DiversityInclusion #ConstructYourCareer #Target

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