Despite the phrase ‘levelling up’ hanging in the balance, the UK government’s proposal that more needs to be done to “spread opportunity more equally across the UK” is an understatement.
Real estate is paying increasing attention to the ‘S’ in ESG: working with investors, developers and occupiers to create new training and job opportunities for local people within the delivery and operation of projects to ensure benefits are felt locally. But what more can we do to make sure talent from all over is identified and given the opportunity to grow within local communities?
For decades, the traditional ‘milk round’ was associated with large organisations offering graduates an attractive starting package, usually based in London. While times have changed and graduates may now be offered a position in a regional office, this doesn’t necessarily ensure the benefits flow back to their home towns and cities.
It is therefore important to be creative, offering entry points at different stages in the employment journey to help keep the benefits as local and equal as possible. This isn’t about depriving people of the chance to work elsewhere if they choose, but ensuring they don’t feel they have to move to a big city to fulfil their professional ambitions.
A universal training programme offering the same courses and coaching wherever an employee is based is a first step, but the biggest challenge is getting people into the business to begin with. I believe apprenticeship schemes are key to this , and to that end will be welcoming more than 250 into our business this year to allow increased access to our industry.
We know that local knowledge is key to clients when awarding tenders. We’re potentially moving towards a world where clients will ask who in the pitch team not only knows about the location under discussion, but who lives there too, to help satisfy their own ESG criteria. Fostering talent to help ‘level up’ the regions is therefore not only good for communities and clients, but for business too.
Richard Rees, managing director, Savills UK