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CITB reveals extent of inappropriate language in construction


A CITB survey has revealed that sexist, racist, and homophobic language is regularly used in the construction industry.

An online survey of more than 500 construction workers discovered that:

  • 61% had heard sexist language at work in the past year, and 14% said they heard it once a week or more
  • More than half (53%) of respondents had heard racist language at work in the past 12 months and 14% claimed to have heard racist language at least once a week
  • Almost half (48%) of workers had heard homophobic language in the past year, while 13% had heard it at least once a week
  • 51% reported hearing ageist language in the past 12 months, with 11% claiming to hear it once a week or more

While most of those surveyed described the tone of offensive language as “banter", 17% of incidents were described as patronising and 6% as direct insults.

12% of women admitted to having their confidence knocked by offensive language used in the industry and 4% said they had left a job because of it.

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.

“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. We need to take action.”

She added that CITB is trying to address diversity issues through its Be Fair Framework, which launches in June this year.  

“Developed with industry, its aim is to help create more inclusive working environments, both in office and on sites, making sure workers are treated fairly and with respect.”



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