Builders In The UK Adapt To The Neurodiversity Revolution

Prominent figures like Leonardo da Vinci, Richard Branson, Albert Einstein, and Elon Musk, though diverse in their own right, have all been identified as neurodiverse, albeit in some cases posthumously.

Now, how does this relate to the UK construction industry? Well, the connection can be found in what’s being called the “great resignation” in construction, a significant challenge facing businesses in the UK. This phenomenon is prompting them to seek fresh solutions for their recruitment woes.

It’s widely acknowledged that about 30% of senior construction workers in the UK are expected to retire in the next decade. Bridging the skills gap will require some out-of-the-box thinking.

Interestingly, neurodiverse individuals are often praised for their ability to think outside the box, which might explain the surprising presence of neurodiverse workers in the UK’s construction sector.

The importance of making adjustments and fostering inclusivity cannot be overstated. A recent report from the UK’s National Federation of Builders (NFB) revealed that one in four construction workers in the UK considers themselves neurodiverse. Even more surprising, approximately one-third of neurodiverse workers surveyed mentioned that their condition played a role in choosing construction as a career.

The NFB report showcased widespread support for neurodiverse workers in the UK construction industry, with employers actively implementing adjustments and offering additional assistance to create an inclusive environment. The most prevalent neurodiverse conditions among construction professionals in the UK are ADHD, followed closely by autism and dyslexia.

While the presence of neurodiverse workers in UK construction is heartening, there are challenges. About 36% of respondents haven’t disclosed their condition to anyone, and 38% feel there’s a lack of empathy within the industry in the UK.

However, research suggests that teams with neurodiverse members in the UK can be up to 30% more productive than those without. This inclusion can also boost team morale, a crucial aspect given the industry’s struggles with health and well-being issues.

Recognizing the talents of neurodiverse individuals in the UK can lead to positive outcomes, especially in technology roles that align with their strengths. In certain sectors like defense, where spotting anomalies is essential, neurodiverse individuals are actively sought after.

The landscape for neurodiversity is evolving in the UK. Within its construction industry, there’s a growing acceptance and support for neurodiverse conditions. For example, Rebecca Penn, a finance analyst at Balfour Beatty with dyslexia and ADHD, has been instrumental in establishing a neurodiversity affinity group within the company.

However, there’s room for improvement. According to NFB research, 75% of construction workers in the UK are not asked about neurodiversity during hiring or onboarding, representing a missed opportunity for providing support.

Embracing neurodiversity in the UK construction industry can bring about positive changes. Recognizing the unique skills and perspectives of neurodiverse individuals in the UK can lead to a more diverse and innovative workforce, ultimately shaping the future of construction in the UK.