Social class issues associated with civil engineering:
In the workplace, I have not personally experienced significant issues regarding social class. Many engineers that I know came from low to lower middle class incomes and this has never seemed to impact their careers. In fact, some of the most successful leaders I know in our industry came from a lower social class background, including being the first in their families to ever attend college. With that said, it can make it a challenge to actually get the education you need to become an engineer. More universities are beginning to reflect the cost of educating students in fields like engineering in supplemental fees added to their tuition. Therefore, it becomes more expensive in some cases to get an engineering degree. Also, there are times when certain social classes are not educated in how to pursue scholarships and loans.
Gender, age or other personal demographic issues connected with civil engineering
Civil engineering remains a predominantly white male career choice. Women may make up 8-10 %, and African Americans a MUCH smaller percentage. There is no practical reason for this to be a better career choice for white males than others, it's just who happens to choose the field. Once women and minorities enter the workforce in civil engineering, I feel that there are no more gender or race issues in our field than any other career field, and in many cases, it is much less than some others. Age issues are a bigger challenge, as the older, more experienced engineers struggle with keeping up with the new technology, social media, etc. Our field needs to figure out a way for there to be shared resources among the younger professionals who do understand the technology, and the older engineers who have the experience and wisdom of many years in the field of civil engineering.
Communication issues, either within the workplace itself or in relation to society in general
The majority of individuals who choose civil engineering happen to be introverts, meaning that there can be less comfort with communicating in public, dealing with a wide variety of people, etc. This can make it a challenge when an engineer advances to a management level position (communicating with employees) or must communicate effectively with clients who are not engineers. At times our industry deals with passive-aggressive responses from individuals rather than outright open communication about an issue. It is important for our industry to figure out ways to attract more diversity of personality type, including a larger percentage of "people persons" than we have had in the past. This will provide a better mix for our industry and I believe provide some aid to communication issues. With that said, the number one issue in ALL organizations is communication! That is not limited to civil engineering!
Hope these thoughts are helpful,