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Surprising statistics around Neurodiversity in construction industry

09 August 2023

THE NATIONAL Federation of Builders (NFB), along with The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and People’s Partnership, have conducted research on neurodiversity in the construction industry.

Neurodiversity is the term used to describe the different ways in which people’s brains function, learn and process information, not better, not worse, simply different.

The report highlights that in the UK, it is estimated that one in seven individuals are neurodiverse, with the construction industry being no exception to this diversity. One in four construction workers identify themselves as having a neurodiverse condition, and among these workers, ADHD is the most prevalent, accounting for 54% of the neurodiverse individuals in this field.

34% of neurodiverse workers expressed that their condition actually heightened their desire to work in construction, while only 5% felt it made them less inclined to do so. This indicates that construction is a field actively chosen by neurodiverse individuals.

The construction industry is perceived as supportive towards neurodiversity, with 67% of all construction workers believing that the sector is capable of accommodating and aiding individuals with diverse neurological conditions, while only 11% expressed disagreement. These findings highlight the industry's potential for fostering inclusivity and embracing the talents of neurodiverse individuals.

A significant 80% of respondents who disclosed their neurodiverse condition to their employer experienced reasonable adjustments made for their accommodation, with 71% receiving additional support. These statistics are very positive, however despite progress in supporting neurodiverse individuals in the construction industry, concerns regarding stigma and embarrassment persist.

NFB senior vice chair Joe Cook comments; “There is of course still work to do when it comes to stigma. The research shows that almost 40% of neurodiverse workers have not told their employers and of those about a third say it is because they are worried about the stigma, and a significant percentage say they are embarrassed. This is simply not acceptable. We can only get the best out of our people when they feel fully supported and it is hard for employers to support where we do not know the challenges that our people face. With more awareness, we can change that, and between us, the NFB and CITB, it is our mission to do so.

“I’m proud our sector is a home to many neurodiverse people and that it attracts neurodiverse people to work in it. That is something we should shout from the rooftops. Let’s do everything we can to make it the most supportive sector too.”

The report is available for download on the NFB’s website here: https://www.builders.org.uk/neurodiversity-report/.