So, what does delivering real social value actually mean? According to government, it’s about tackling economic inequality, fighting climate change, even restoring normality post Covid-19.
For me however the most poignant area of focus is on the role of equal opportunity – and better gender balance, in delivering social value – not least because Covid-19 has hit women harder in terms of employment than it has done men.
The issue is compounded by a recent report from The Women and Equalities Committee that highlights how women are traditionally under-represented in the very sectors that have been singled out for future government investment. This includes construction, and it’s fair to say that the sector’s record doesn’t start from a position of strength. Despite concerted efforts in recent years, women still make up under 10% of the construction workforce and Covid-19 has only heightened the issue. We must redouble our collective efforts, but how?
In the part it has been the purview of local authority procurement teams to stipulate percentage targets for companies to hit when it comes to increasing female representation in the workplace, but this alone doesn’t always deliver the desired result. [J4MB emphasis: No shit, Sherlock!] In the current climate there is now, more than ever before, the chance for the private sector to step forward as an equal partner in making a difference and attracting a new wave of talent into construction.
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