There’s been a great deal of attention paid lately to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the building industry. The Associated General Contractors of America has its Culture of Care initiative, for instance, and the American Institute of Architects its monumental Guides for Equitable Practice. But for all the position statements and policy-setting, just how robust is DEI in actual industry practice? A new study, commissioned by the U.S. General Services Administration from the Dodge Construction Network, examines architecture firms and construction companies’ level of engagement in DEI activities as well as their sense of outcomes.
The report‘s top-level takeaway is straightforward, and perhaps not surprising: “Diversity, equity and inclusion practices are in use at architectural firms and construction companies, but more engagement will be necessary to make the design and construction industry more inclusive.” According to GSA Administrator Robin C. Carnahan and Public Buildings Service Commissioner Nina M. Albert, “It shows that DEIA training, for example, is becoming a norm for the industry. However, it also shows that we can do much more in areas such as recruiting, empowering, and advancing a diverse workforce.”
Adoption varies by sector, as does perception, with architects seeing significantly greater benefit in DEI as a driver of more inclusive and positive workplace culture than contractors do.