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Diversity in Training and Work ‘Good for Economy’


A lack of diversity in work and training is damaging Britain's economy, according to the the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).

Reasearch by the EOC, due to be released later this month, found a clear link between skills shortages in sectors such as plumbing, construction, and engineering and the under-representation of women.

EOC research also shows that 70% of employers thought atypical recruits could bring positive benefits to their business.

Speaking at the Daring to be Different Conference on Friday (18 March), Caroline Slocock, chief executive of the Commission, gave details of some of the early findings of the EOC's investigation into sex segregation.

"Our investigation has found a direct link between sectors where jobs are mostly filled by men and serious skills shortages and this is damaging the economy," she said. "It's bad for women too: Three-fifths of women are working in one of just four occupational groups - all of which tend to attract low pay."

Those attending the conference also heard from businesses that have increased the diversity of their workforce.

Trevor Jee, regional director at Bramall Construction, one of the employers speaking at the conference, said: "Our initiatives to ensure our workforce is representative of the local community are starting to meet with success, particularly at Rochdale where women and members of the Asian community have been trained and incorporated into the site team. Site managers are full of praise for their female and Asian workers many of whom have been the subject of particular requests or thanks from residents, particularly the elderly, for work on their home."

The conference was arranged by the EOC, Apprenticeships Task Force and CITB-Construction Skills.


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