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Sexist, racist and homophobic language rife in the industry

The AJ’s sister title Construction News has revealed that the use of sexist, racist, homophobic and ageist language is commonplace in the construction industry

A survey of construction workers carried out by the construction training organisation CITB revealed that more than 60 per cent had heard sexist language at work in the past year, and 14 per cent said they had heard it more than once a week.

In the survey a third of women reported having offensive language directed at them at work in the past year. Of these women, 12 per cent said their confidence had been knocked by the language.

More than half of respondents had heard racist language at work in the past 12 months and 14 per cent claimed to have heard racist language at least once a week.

Most of those surveyed described the tone of offensive language as ‘banter’; however, 17 per cent of incidents were described as patronising and 6 per cent as direct insults.

Almost half (48 per cent) of workers had heard homophobic language in the past year, while 13 per cent had heard it at least once a week. These results tally with the AJ’s survey of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) architects which revealed that almost half of gay men and women architecture staff have heard homophobic comments in the workplace in the past year.

CITB director of communications and change Nicola Thompson said the survey highlighted the challenge that faces the construction industry as it looks to address diversity issues.

Thompson said: ‘If people feel unhappy coming to work because of the language and behaviours they face, it risks leading to the exclusion of talented people from the industry,’

She added: ‘We need to take action.’

In this year’s annual AJ Women in Architecture survey two thirds of women said they had suffered sexual discrimination at work.

CITB survey results

Sexist language

  • 61.2 per cent heard it in the past year
  • 13.8 per cent hear it once a week or more

Racist language

  • 53.4 per cent heard it in the past year
  • 13.8 per cent hear it once a week or more

Homophobic language

  • 48 per cent heard it in the past year
  • 12.8 per cent hear it once a week or more

Ageist language

  • 51.2 per cent heard it in the past year
  • 10.8 per cent hear it once a week or more

Readers' comments (2)

  • During my decade on site as a surveyor that word architect preceded by the work F*****G were conjoined

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Use of the phrase 'f*****g architect' is often caused by the fact that the skills base of site workers is often lamentably low - they often seem unable to follow drawn information (even when discussed with/ explained to them), then get annoyed when what they produce does not comply with the contract drawings, and work has to be undone and re - done correctly.
    I was apprenticed for four years as a carpenter and joiner under the old City and Guilds system, was self employed for 20 years before training as an architect, and I am often apalled at the work some site operatives consider to be satisfactory.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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