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Quarter of construction workforce is neurodiverse, industry report finds

Image courtesy of Milton Cogheil/Dreamstime

Research published today (8 August) reveals one quarter of construction workers identify as neurodiverse.

Almost 40% of neurodiverse workers in the construction industry have not told their employer about their condition, according to a new report.  

The research – commissioned by the National Federation of Builders (NFB), in collaboration with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and People’s Partnership – sought to understand how many of the construction workforce are neurodiverse, and the challenges and hurdles they face. 

The Neurodiversity in Construction report highlights that an estimated one in seven individuals in the UK are neurodiverse, with the construction industry being no exception to this diversity. 

One in four construction workers identify themselves as having a neurodiverse condition. Among these workers, ADHD is the most prevalent, accounting for 54% of the neurodiverse individuals in this field. 

Generally, the construction industry is perceived to be supportive towards neurodiversity. Some 67% of construction workers believe the sector is capable of accommodating and aiding individuals with diverse neurological conditions, while only 11% expressed disagreement.  

Raising awareness

Commenting on the findings, Joe Cook, senior vice chair of NFB, said: “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.

"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.” 

According to the report, 34% of neurodiverse workers said that their condition heightened their desire to work in construction, while just 5% felt it made them less inclined to do so. 

The majority of respondents (80%) who disclosed their neurodiverse condition to their employer experienced reasonable adjustments made for their accommodation, with 71% receiving additional support.  

Cook added: “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.”