3 Things to Know About Diversity in NYC’s Construction Industry

As we observe Black History Month, it is important to note that, though it still has a long way to go, the American workforce has made some progress in its efforts to prioritize diversity and inclusion in all industries. The construction industry is a good example of how far we’ve come in recent years, particularly in New York City. Here are some interesting facts to help you understand how New York City has helped create a diverse workforce:

Did you know that NYC’s construction industry played a role in the Civil Rights Movement?

In the 1960s, racial discrimination was rampant and, according to the Economic Policy Institute, African American and Hispanic workers faced discriminatory hiring practices. A majority of the jobs went to white workers and some of the more skilled trades barely had any African American members. Because of this, the Joint Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity protested at job sites and demanded jobs for Black construction workers. These demonstrations gained national attention and the government began to implement policies such as meeting hiring goals, which helped to increase the number of African Americans in the construction industry.

Did you know that NYC has a high number of minority-owned construction firms?

According to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, New York City’s construction industry has more minority-owned construction firms than all of New York State and the nation. New York City is at 63 percent, the rest of the state is at 13 percent, and the nation is at 24 percent. Within these firms, nearly two-thirds of the workers are African-American, Hispanic, and Asian. 

Did you know that 14 percent of NYC’s construction workers are African American, as opposed to 7.9 percent of the nation’s construction workforce?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a report from the Current Population Survey shows that 7.9 percent of construction workers in the United States are African American. However, the New York Building Congress reported that the number of African American workers increased from 35, 354 to 35, 941, comprising 14 percent of the workers in New York City!

The construction industry in New York City has been a leader in advocating for diversity. As we observe Black History Month, it is important to reflect on the progress we have made and continue to develop new ways to increase diversity and inclusion in the future. Ready to find your next construction job? You can get access to Building Skills NY construction job and training opportunities by checking out our Job Seekers page