It is now a year since Property Week launched its Diversity Charter and a phenomenal 53 companies and organisations have now committed to the 10 principles it enshrines. See part 1 of our list (A-C) here.
1. Access Included = Helen Kane, director: “We have been an inclusive employer since inception 11 years ago and promote inclusion and accessibility in the built environment.”
2. Addleshaw Goddard = Leona Ahmed, real estate divisional managing partner: “We want to be known for our flexibility, inclusivity and innovation when it comes to diversity and equality practices. Open Plan allows us to further support our social mobility and diversity programmes as we feel we each have a responsibility to raise the bar in driving a more diverse workplace. We believe these changes must focus on shifting the culture – not simply setting down rules.”
3. Argent = David Partridge, managing partner: “We apply these fundamental principles to our own business, and fully support any initiatives to encourage the promotion of them within the sector.”
4. BNP Paribas Real Estate = John Slade, UK CEO: “It is integral to the future of property to ensure a steady stream of talent from all backgrounds joins and stays within our industry. Property itself is always changing and diversifying and we need the absolute best talent to keep us, as an industry, future focused and sustainable. BNP Paribas Real Estate has placed diversity firmly at the centre of our business.”
5. British Land = Brian Parkes, HR director: “The Diversity Charter is a welcome and visible programme that we believe will help the property industry take a more confi dent and structured approach to strengthening the diversity and inclusion of its workforce, and therefore its commercial decision-making.”
6. Carter Jonas = Claire Matthews, head of HR: “Diversity is the future of the property industry and underpins our employment brand of ‘Approachable, Effective and Ambitious’, and being an equal opportunities employer.”
Carter Jonas Case Study
At Carter Jonas, a firm-wide e-learning programme has been introduced to support diversity and is mandatory for all new staff . Equality and diversity training is also required for all partners and staff .
The company also runs a paid internship programme enabling students to get involved whatever their background. Internships are available in the Bath, Cambridge, Leeds and Oxford offices, as well as in central London, meaning that participants do not have to meet the cost of renting accommodation in the capital.
In addition, other initiatives such as best practice recruitment processes, supporting the Reading Real Estate Foundation’s Pathways to Property programme, and promotions via competency-based criteria have been adopted.
“Traditional roots have hindered the property industry in identifying and developing talented property professionals from diverse backgrounds, and undoubtedly the sector is playing catch-up,” says Claire Matthews, Carter Jonas’s head of HR.
“The reality is that embracing diversity in the workplace is about supporting current and future employees regardless of gender, age or ethnicity, and identifying their key strengths. This can only be of benefit to businesses and the industry in the long term.”
7. CBRE = Beth Molloy, HR manager: “Diversity really drives our business forward and should be at the heart of everything we do. As an industry, we need to work together and support initiatives such as Property Week’s Open Plan and recognise the value that this will bring to us not just as individual fi rms, but for our industry and society as a whole.”
8. Charles Russell Speechlys = Emma Humphreys, partner: “We believe it is important to support and to show our commitment to improving the diversity not just within our own profession, but also within the other industries we work with. We believe the Diversity Charter will be a good forum for us to share experiences, case studies and initiatives with like-minded organisations.”
9. Child Graddon Lewis = Natasha Drennan, business manager: “We are fully committed to upholding diversity and equality at our practice.”
10. CMS Cameron McKenna = Mark Heighton, partner and head of real estate: “As a leading international law firm, we are fully committed to diversity and inclusion. We support a wide range of initiatives both internally and externally and believe strongly in creating an inclusive environment to recruit, retain and advance the best talent.”
11. The Collective = Reza Merchant, chief executive: “The Diversity Charter is a muchneeded initiative for the property industry.”
12. Colliers International = Alyson Serby, HR director: “We want our employees to have the best ideas for fulfilling our clients’ needs. That sort of innovative thinking doesn’t come from ‘business as usual’; it comes from opening up our firm to new ways of thinking. And that relies on a corporate culture that attracts and retains people from the widest range of backgrounds. It’s not only about ‘doing the right thing’, but forging the teams that will distinguish us where it matters most.”
13. Cushman & Wakefield = Kirsty Peacock, HR director, UK & western Europe: “We are passionate about moving the diversity agenda on in our organisation, as we recognise the value that diff erent perspectives and styles bring. The Diversity Charter demonstrates our commitment to making real change happen.”
The Open Plan Diversity Charter
- 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.