Property has long been considered a laggard in terms of diversity and inclusion. But it isn’t just property. Stonewall’s LGBT in Britain – Work Report found that almost 20% of LGBT people said they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity while trying to get a job in the previous year.
At JLL, we have been working hard to address this issue within the property community as well as the wider workforce, to help create a more diverse and equitable environment for all.
We know that discrimination continues to exist throughout society, but we also know that creating open and supportive environments encourages employee wellbeing and productivity. So, it doesn’t just make moral sense; it makes business sense to actively support the LGBT+ community into the workforce.
JLL is the only property firm to be part of Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers and we have a number of employee-led resource groups to support the inclusion and championing of our LGBT+ colleagues.
We believe that by creating an open dialogue that fosters education and understanding, we can offer those joining the industry the opportunity to be themselves unashamedly and without fear.
In Manchester, we recently hosted the Pink News ‘Futures’ event, aimed at LGBT+ young people to help them gain confidence in the job market. The aim of the event was to create a safe space for LGBT+ young people. Stonewall has reported that 62% of graduates go back into the closet when they enter the job market.
We wanted to show that property and construction, as well as the wider job market, might be more inclusive than it can appear.
Although we are making strides, we know there is still a way to go to create a safe and inclusive environment for all. I hope that through the event, we are able to inspire even just one person to enter the workforce with authenticity and pride.
Mac Boatswain is a chartered building surveyor at JLL and chair of its LGBT+ network Building Pride