This Monday will mark Equal Pay Day to raise awareness of the gender inequality that exists in almost every industry - including our own.
That so many women in today’s society are likely to earn less than their male peers, regardless of talent, is shocking. It has long-term implications for the future of every business, particularly in property, where success relies on understanding and reflecting the diversity of the clients we serve.
The situation can be improved and I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that changes in policies and attitudes can have. Taking action to create a positive work environment for women can make a lasting difference.
This is why at CBRE we reviewed all of our policies with the goal of becoming truly an equal opportunities employer. We implemented an annual salary review to ensure every employee is rewarded equally and based on merit alone. We make training, career development and promotion opportunities open equally to all. We upgraded our maternity benefits and revised our flexible working practices to ensure we can retain as many women as possible through the different stages of their careers.
At the same time, we strive to create an environment that is inclusive and fair to all at CBRE and in property generally. We actively campaign as part of several industry groups including REAL Estate BALANCE, an association tackling gender imbalance in the UK real estate sector. Ten years ago, we launched the CBRE Women’s Network to promote female recruitment and retention, to encourage talent development and to create a level playing field. We’re proud this year that the Economist recognised the CBRE’s Global Women’s Network as one of the world’s top 10 women’s employee networks in its inaugural Global Diversity List.
Our initiatives are having an effect. Today, more than a third of CBRE’s UK professional ‘fee-earning’ staff are women, which is two-and-a-half times the property industry average of 13.5% (RICS). When we recruit, we attract more female applicants than ever before and, for the last two years, our graduate intake has been almost 50:50 men to women.
This is significant progress but we are committed to doing more. It is critical to the future of our business and the industry as a whole.
Sue Clayton, executive director and chair of UK Women’s Network, CBRE