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An investigation of the underrepresentation of BMEs in the UK construction industry

Missa, P 2013, An investigation of the underrepresentation of BMEs in the UK construction industry , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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The construction industry forms a significant component of most economies and is responsible for a large share of revenue generation and employment creation. The sector performs well compared to a number of other sectors in terms of productivity and witness steady growth in almost a decade preceding 2008 until impacted upon by the current economic downturn and still performed better than the overall economy average during these difficult times. In the UK, it is responsible for about 7.5 per cent of total employment thus making up the second largest sector of UK employment. Skills requirement to such an important economically viable sector operations is therefore crucial if it is to keep this level of performance. However, this very important industry suffers from a negative image as it has been characterised by a relatively low-status with unyielding and uncompromising working conditions hardly offering any job security. Regardless of these perceptions of construction as well as its high level demand for skills, it is still characterised by a persistent culture of white male-dominant environment. As a result, BMEs are proportionally underrepresented, despite the skills requirements as well as alleged public commitment towards equality and intolerance of discriminatory practices and in respect of successive increases in the minority ethnic population have meant that the UK is more ethnically diverse than ever. Such demographic changes mean that organizations cannot afford monolithic blocks of workforce and still remain competitive. In view of the above, the constant underrepresentation of BMEs in the industry resulting from the many bottlenecks hampering their recruitment, progression and retention in construction needs urgent attention and thus creates a research gap. This study seeks to fill this gap to help decision making processes and influence policy in this regard. As an exploratory study it is philosophically based on mixed methods research paradigm. The study used literature review, semi structured interviews and questionnaire survey as data collection techniques. NVivo 8/9 and SPSS 16 were used for Content analysis and quantitative analysis respectively for the empirical data collected. The study concludes having investigated the cultural practices in the industry especially in respect of recruitment, retention and progression for means to advance BME entry into the industry. Having identified the barriers and the possible remedies to ameliorate the situation, a framework has been put forward with the ultimate aim of informing stakeholder programmes, policy decisions and initiatives to enhance the proportional representation of BMEs in the industry.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Themes: Built and Human Environment
Schools: Schools
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: P Missa
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 14:45
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2014 15:48

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