Jazmin Atkins on diversity and inclusion in the real estate sector
Diversity in the property industry is an ongoing topic of conversation that needs to be addressed. This issue has remained a quiet and somewhat low priority for HR departments to the boards of large property corporations. There has been an incredibly slow take up of members of the Black, Asian, Minority or Ethnic community (BAME).
Biznow conducted a survey in 2019 that showed 70% of BAME employees in the property and construction industry have suffered from racism or discrimination in the workplace. Some have said it’s subtle and others have had more open racism.
The issue is incredibly sensitive; large corporates argue that there aren’t enough BAME candidates putting themselves forward for jobs and the BAME community further the debate by saying that such jobs are simply not made available enough. Issues such as lack of training, unconscious bias, quiet institutional racism hold them back.
No candidate wishes to feel that they are quota filling and no corporate wishes to have their quotas unfulfilled… it’s not an easy situation but I’m optimistic.
Here in London, we have probably the most diverse global market in the world. Property in London is owned by the most varied international community than in any other city I know. Each year my clients come from all corners of the earth. So I firmly believe that this will be reflected in our industry.
Although there are more women in property a recent survey in biznow stated that only 14% of our industry is female.
It is important to encourage and employ more women of different ethnic backrounds because firstly, women encourage women. Psychologically, if you see women in the business, more will join.
Secondly, companies are aware that they need more diversity. Companies are more likely to hire women and men of diverse backrounds because there is societal pressure to make their brand look more diverse and help the company’s appeal.
If we want a successful thriving industry then we all have to make that effort. As research shows time and time again, a company that reflects its diverse multi ethnic market place in the boardroom has a higher collective intelligence, understands its customers better and will see their profits rise.
I hope that our industry will begin to level out and proportionally reflect our diverse population, but it will take time and effort, on both sides.