DBIA is proud to have supported the 2021 National Institute of Building Sciences Social Equity Survey and appreciate the many DBIA members who took the time to participate as respondents. We believe this work is extremely important.
“Achieving racial equity in the workplace is certain to be one of the most important issues companies will tackle in the coming decade, making it one of many ‘disruptors’ for DBIA, our members and our industry. Business as usual is not an option. Research like this NIBS survey provides the data we need to make informed decisions as we plot a social equity course providing fair and equal treatment regardless of our differences.” — Lisa Washington, CAE, DBIA Executive Director/CEO
Respondents fairly represent the AEC industry overall, older, white and male with decades of experience in the built-environment.
- The majority of survey respondents are employed full-time (71%) and have been in the built environment for more than 20 years.
- Forty-three percent (43%) of respondents are 55 and older. With the largest cohort at 55-64 old (25%).
- Nearly three-fourths (74%) of survey respondents identify as White. White survey respondents are more likely to be older and to have worked in the built environment for longer
- Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents are men, and 28% are women.
- Sixty-three percent (63%) of respondents work in private industry
We recommend you read the full report but here are some key takeaways:
Differences in the Perception of Diversity
Survey respondents were divided in their perception of how diverse the built environment is. Thirty-two percent (32%) of respondents indicated the built environment is not diverse at all or is a little diverse, while the same number (32%) indicated the built environment is diverse or extremely diverse. Overall, women, younger workers, and respondents of color were more likely to indicate there are diversity challenges.
It’s then not surprising that those same respondents – young, women and people of color (91% Black or African-American, 89% South Asian, 84% East Asian, 79% Hispanic or Latina/Latino/Latinx) were more likely than white respondents (64%) to say it’s important or extremely important to increase the diversity of the built environment. However, it’s important to note that a significant majority of all respondents (65%) say it is important or extremely important to increase the diversity of the built environment.
That’s reflected in responses that show nearly half (43%) of employed/working respondents say their company now has a program or initiative dedicated to DEI.
Overall, 60% of respondents report they have faced discrimination or prejudice in the workplace with age (28%), gender (27%) and race and/or ethnicity (16%) the most commonly reported.
- Twenty-eight percent of respondents indicated they have experienced discrimination or prejudice based on age. Younger respondents (aged 25 to 44) were more likely to indicate they have experienced discrimination or prejudice based on age and gender.
- Sixty-six percent of women respondents reported discrimination or prejudice in the built environment based on gender.
- Almost three-fourths (72%) of Black or African American respondents indicated they have experienced discrimination or prejudice based on race and/or ethnicity. Around half of East Asian respondents (48%), South Asian respondents (48%), and Southeast Asian respondents (53%) and more than two in five Hispanic or Latina/Latino/Latinx respondents (41%) and Native American, Alaskan Native, or First Nations respondents (43%) indicated they have faced discrimination or prejudice based on race and/or ethnicity.
More than one-third (35%) of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the following statement: I have to work harder than others to be valued equally in the built environment. However, almost two-thirds (65%) of women respondents agreed or strongly agreed with this.
The NIBS Social Equity Survey provides an important snapshot of our industry and perspectives on diversity in the workplace. DBIA is committed to continue our important work as part of our Differing Sight Conditions campaign to engage in “less talk” and “more action” to find solutions to the core issue of racial bias in the AEC industry.