Make no mistake about it: The A/E/C industries are at an HR crossroads, and the decisions firms make today will determine the talent available for the next professional generation.
The lessons learned from previous crises tell us diversity and inclusion programs are at risk of receding from the forefront as a strategic priority, as companies focus on basic needs to transition to the new normal. This could cripple organizations and, indeed, the entire A/E/C community, in the future as companies seek to stabilize, flourish, and grow.
Before COVID-19, the A/E/C industries were in a precarious position related to diversity—and especially women—in the workplace. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ (NCARB) 2019 survey of the profession, conducted in partnership with National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), found that women are twice as likely to stop pursuing a licensure after taking one of the six divisions of the Architect Registration Examination®.
Zweig Group studies similarly reflect a downward trend of those who self identify as female from entry into the A/E/C workforce through licensure, with representation dropping from 36% for ages 18 to 25, down to 29% by ages 44 to 55. According to Zweig Group’s 2020 Principals, Partners, and Owners Report of AEC Firms, 94% of firm principals are white; 84% are male; 82% are 50 or older; and only 2% are under age 40. The same NCARB and NOMA study found that 66% of African Americans don’t see themselves reflected in firm leadership.
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Article, written by Jamie Claire Kiser, first appeared in Marketer journal.