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Insights Why we need to strive for diversity in the architecture industry

Diversity within the architecture industry has always been a talking point, and while attempts have been made to improve the standard, there is still work to do. Research shows that women and minority ethnic groups are underrepresented in the field of architecture. According to the Architects Registration Board, 80% of architects classed their ethnicity as 'white'; with minority ethnic groups representing the remaining 20%.

Additionally, as of 2020, only 29% of registered architects are women. The underrepresentation of minority groups and women in architecture represents not only inequities within the profession but throughout global workforces. Here at AtkinsRéalis Lavalin, our latest ED&I strategy shows that we are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive culture, and it is imperative that other firms and industries follow suit.

Here, we discuss why it is crucial that we strive for diversity in the architecture industry.

image of skyscrapers from the ground

Promoting an inclusive community

Architecture is a crucial component when it comes to representing the communities it embodies. Diverse societies worldwide can benefit greatly from a landscape that engages them and effectively depicts their culture and background. Buildings are the products of people's creativity, and if architecture is going to represent the diversity of our cities and countries effectively, the creators must be representative.

A diverse architecture industry can allow organisations to create an environment that showcases our diverse world. Architecture’s contribution to communities can be inadequate when they fail to include a variety of ideas and perspectives. Without diverse ideas behind the construction of buildings, the industry is operating in a restricted bubble and failing to fulfil its true potential.

Diversity can result in greater success for the industry

There is substantial research showing that more diverse teams are more successful, particularly when it comes to analysis, creativity, and innovation, all of which are the cornerstones of architecture firms. Working with individuals who offer diverse ways of thinking and whose cultural backgrounds and experiences differ encourages us to indulge in a wider spectrum of possible approaches to challenges and tasks. This, in turn, results in a more effective and prosperous industry.

Studies have revealed that diversity increases the innovation and financial performance of companies. Improving diversity had a direct effect on business performance, and companies that had more diverse teams achieved 19% higher revenue. These stats show that that diversity is not just a metric to be strived for, but it also represents an integral part of a successful industry.

Steps we can take to achieve a more diverse architecture industry

Achieving a more diverse workforce requires architecture firms to take deliberate actions. Here at Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group, we know that a more diverse profession would benefit all within the industry. So, how can firms affect a measurable change and contribute to a more inclusive workforce?

  • Understand the pressing need for inclusion and diversity within architecture and the construction industry
  • Set inclusion targets and implement a detailed equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) action plan
  • Commit to improving their workplace culture to support diversity and inclusion
  • Accept a broader range of ideas that can lead to inclusive design in all projects

In addition, the architecture profession isn’t yet tapping into the full potential of the talent pipeline; this must be addressed.

If our ethnic minorities and other marginalised community members find it hard to see how they could build an impactful career in architecture, this may deter them from joining the workforce. These talented and determined minds need to be shown an accessible route into architecture so they can help the industry move from strength to strength. Youth education programs and scholarships are a great way to challenge this issue and open the doorways for a more diverse and inclusive culture.

Take the next step in your architecture career with AtkinsRéalis

Cultural diversity is a pursuit that we place great importance on as it represents much more than just the value a company gains in employing the most qualified candidate. Buildings in all areas of the world need to be reflections of the communities they serve. When diversity isn’t adequately represented in the architecture profession, crucial opportunities can be missed or overlooked.

In order to achieve our goals and deliver on our promises, we need to see an increase in diversity in the built environment, including more minority groups and women in architectural roles. We’re always focused on the future, and we’re growing our teams to provide an inclusive future for the next generation. To start making a positive change, browse our available architecture jobs today.

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