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I’m in Dubai this week, and the subject of ethics, and “cultural relativism” has raised its head a few times…

Whether your business is huge or absolutely tiny, in this day and age you can’t avoid Ethics and diversity. A few things other than my Dubai trip have brought this right to the fore…

Firstly, my brilliant client recently wrote an article (shameless plug for brilliant client…) which you’ll find here. They point out that UK firms now need to deal not only with financial ethics and equal opportunities, but pro-actively work against modern slavery.

It’s been well documented that Millennials (that all-important generation which I think I just about missed) examine diversity and ethics when choosing an employer. To hire the very best people, it’s not just important to pay the right salary.

Then I got involved with a Twitter conversation between Su Butcher (@SuButcher) and Kath Fontana (@KathF48). Kath concluded she couldn’t join a panel at a conference, because they wouldn’t alter the gender composition (all male except for her) at the event.

Back in the day – in my last role we tried to ensure all our brochures had diverse imagery.

We were really proud of the fact that our event in September featured two women and three men. Granted, that’s not equal, but it’s a lot closer to equal than a lot of events (including ones I’ve organised in the past, to my shame!). Su and Sarah’s outstanding talks were warmly received by all who attended.

Finally, I’ve attended a networking event in London a few times now. Some readers might know of it, and recognise the description. I won’t name it, but for me it represents all that’s bad about construction and real-estate. It’s a lunchtime, slightly boozy Networking session. Nothing too bad about that so far. It’s dominated by men (ok, that sometimes can’t be helped).

But it’s dominated by the kind of men who make me feel a little uncomfortable. The ‘blokes blokes’, ‘geezers’… There’s usually a speech, it’s frequently dominated by foul language, it’s often right-wing, and occasionally includes more than a little hint of sexism.

A contact of mine said she went along once, but wouldn’t return because of the men leering at her throughout the event. Another female contact I met said ‘it’s just a bit of fun’ – but I’m not sure I agree.

Institutions such as CIOB, ICE, RIBA and RICS have made great efforts to reform the image of the construction industry from boozy wolf-whistling builders. It was fantastic to see this year that the CIOB not only had a woman president, but a female took the coveted title of ‘Construction Manager of the Year’. It strikes me as a great shame that people feel it’s acceptable still to carry on in a 20th or even 19th Century style in 2017.

So – Limeslade Consulting now has an ethics and diversity page on the website. We’re going to do our best to stick to it, and if we don’t then please call us out!