Open PlanThe Property Week campaign for greater diversity in the property industry.
OPEN PLAN CAMPAIGN
How can London’s property industry ensure that panels at events reflect a greater range of participants than just white men of a certain age?
Does your heart sink when one of your employees comes sheepishly into the office and announces that they have been offered a new job and will be off once they have worked their notice?
Sean Tompkins, the chief executive of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, recently made a pledge to avoid speaking at property events which do not also include women among the panellists, whenever possible.
The property industry has a role to play in bridging the skills gap in the advanced manufacturing sector if the Northern Powerhouse vision is to be realised.
I often feel that diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the real estate sector is at a stage similar to where sustainability was 15 years ago: everyone thought it was a good thing to do, most people said it was a business objective, but few actually knew what it meant or how to implement it.
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors chief executive Sean Tompkins has pledged not to sit on all-male panels ‘wherever possible’, after the industry body released research showing that nearly a third of young women thought the property sector was purely for men.
It is rare to look around the room at a property event and see more women than men - unless you’re at an event hosted by the Association of Women in Property (WiP), that is.
As Adam Branson’s recent feature ‘Laying the foundations for tomorrow’s construction careers’ alluded to, the upcoming apprenticeship levy will change the face of the UK workforce, including in the property industry.
Of the myriad challenges facing the construction industry at the moment, the skills shortage and the ageing workforce are arguably the biggest.
The property industry has made positive steps towards building a more diverse workforce. But new research reveals it needs to do far more to catch the eyes of young people before they are tempted by other professions.
Over the past two years, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) has been developing its UrbanPlan UK initiative, which aims to introduce state school students to the various careers available to them in the built environment.
Ensuring that businesses take diversity in the workplace seriously is increasingly important - not simply as a tick-box exercise, but because diverse workplaces are more innovative, inclusive and successful.
- We will monitor diversity in our workplace and provide Property Week with data and information on company policies designed to support a more diverse workforce.
- We will share resources, including best-practice guides and case studies, with other signatories via Property Week’s Diversity Charter online portal.
- We will strive to appoint senior ‘diversity champions’ within our organisation to act as the main contact with Property Week on matters relating to the charter.
- We will provide mentoring to support employees’ career development, both at entry level and mid-career.
- We will endeavour to work with at least one state senior school in each town or city in which we operate to promote careers in the built environment to young people from diverse backgrounds.
- Where possible, we will offer – and advertise externally – paid internships and apprenticeships.
- We will use a blind recruitment process where appropriate to prevent unconscious bias in the shortlisting process.
- We will enforce a zero-tolerance policy on homophobia, sexism, ageism and any other form of discrimination and encourage employees to report instances of prejudice to the diversity champions.
- We will ensure all our buildings are fully accessible and provide appropriate equipment and support to allow employees with disabilities to play a full role in the workplace.
- We will make diversity a key criterion when procuring services from other companies to help ensure the example we set is followed by others.
Sign up to the charter here