Research shows that the highest-performing organisations focus on diversity and inclusion. In any company, it is important both to understand and recognise the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workforce.
The real estate sector has the potential to be a key arena in the global fight against inequality. We cannot forget that housing landscapes carry painful histories of racial covenants – both de jure and de facto segregation – that have contributed to inequities in housing.
The incredible diversity of the communities we serve welcomes rich cultural perspectives, while the disparity between rich and poor neighbourhoods offers a reminder of the inequality around us. The real estate sector is therefore uniquely positioned to take a lead in breaking down prejudices that can inflict damage on our communities, our families and our colleagues.
From the consumer-facing standpoint, we must ensure that we are providing services that meet and exceed industry standards for fair housing. And as leaders – business owners, agents, association members, relocation directors – we must be deeply intentional about making this an inclusive profession.
LeadingRE is taking this charge seriously, both for its own staff and for its global network of 550 member firms. We are expanding the library of resources available to members, building alliances with global, inclusivity-based organisations, developing new plans to support members in their diversity recruitment efforts, and creating information co-ops with resources and insights from our members.
One way to break down barriers is by having a varied mix of employees from different backgrounds, communities and ethnicities. We encourage members to challenge the status quo by paving the way for greater diversity in the real estate industry, and there is no better way to do this than by promoting equal opportunities in your own business. By respecting one another’s differences, we can encourage businesses and individuals to maximise their true potential.
Jessica Edgerton is executive vice-president of operations and corporate counsel at Leading Real Estate Companies of the World