Large contractors, union shops better at anti-harassment training

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Dive Brief:

  • More than two-thirds of contractors now offer anti-harassment training, a finding that suggests a majority of construction companies recognize the importance of creating an inclusive worksite, according to a recent report from Dodge Construction Network. 
  • Size matters when it comes to this kind of training in construction, the report concluded. While 69% of all companies offer anti-harassment training, 89% of large companies do so. On the other hand, just 34% of small contractors carry out the practice. 
  • There was also a large disparity between union and non-union shops: Contractors that hire union workers are more than twice as likely (85%) to have anti-harassment training than those that hire non-union workers exclusively (42%). 

Dive Insight:

Produced in partnership with CPWR, The Center for Construction Research and Training, the report found that despite the industry’s racist, sexist reputation, contractors are emphasizing tolerance and acceptance on jobsites via anti-harassment training.

The majority of companies that offer this training — 60% — do so once a year. But one-fifth only do so “when needed.” 

The on-demand approach could be problematic, however, since “the need for it may not always be evident to those who make the training decisions,” the report said. “Repetition also reinforces the messaging, and an investment in regular training can also indicate to employees that company leadership takes this issue seriously.”

On this front, the divide between union and non-union shops was also evident. It is far more common for contractors that exclusively hire non-union craftworkers to only offer the training when needed, rather than with a regular cadence.

The types of anti-harassment training also varied by company size, with large companies being far more likely than midsize or small ones to offer training on harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Among contractors that offer anti-harassement training, nearly all focus on sexual harassment, with fewer than three-fourths talking about gender identity. The percentage of companies that cover the following topics breaks down as follows:

  • Sexual harassment, 97%.
  • Racial harassment, 94%.
  • Bullying, 84%.
  • Harassment based on sexual orientation, 77%.
  • Harassment based on gender identity, 70%. 

The report concluded that small companies need more support from the industry to provide this kind of training. Given the shortage of skilled workers in the sector, the report said, having a welcoming onsite culture is particularly important for worker retention, with small companies likely benefiting most from increased focus in this area.

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