Encouraging a more diverse and local workforce
As an industry we are faced with major skills shortages yet we often overlook the talent pool in the local communities in which we work. We need to do more to engage local and diverse communities into our industry.
Major infrastructure projects and the wider public sector are using their procurement processes to encourage developers and their contracting partners to search for talent in their local communities. Local councils are using planning conditions known as Section 106 agreements to do the same. So developers will often now have as a planning condition that 10% or 20% of the labour onsite must come from the local community.
This ensures that as an industry we have the benefit of attracting new talent. Given the skills shortage we face this must be welcomed. In addition, we should not overlook the productivity benefits from having a more diverse workforce and also that by using local labour we are contributing back to the communities in which we are building, allowing the community to take pride in the new buildings and infrastructure in the midst of their community.
Whilst many contractors and their supply chain are responding well to these demands the issue is maturing and clients are now expecting the supply chain to monitor the diversity and locations of their teams so that they effectively report to clients and monetarise the value of using local and diverse labour. In essence we need to be able to quantify the benefits our interactions with the community are having.