Property industry unites to build diversity and create opportunities for all

Nineteen built environment firms are the first in the UK to become signatories of a new industry initiative launched by the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) this month to help the land, property and construction sector attract and retain a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

The RICS has developed the Inclusive Employer Quality Mark to encourage companies to recognise their role in engaging and attracting new people to the industry from under-represented groups. Firms that pledge their support for the initiative are committing to adopting and continually improving across six areas: Leadership & Vision, Recruitment, Staff Development, Staff Retention, Staff Engagement and Continuous Development.

Firms to have pledged their commitment to the RICS’ Quality Mark are, Rendall & Rittner, Sweett Group, DTZ, Deloitte Real Estate, JLL, Pinset Masons, BNP Paribas and Gerald Eve, along with Knight Frank, Savills, Strutt & Parker and Countrywide. Others are EC Harris (part of ARCADIS) John Rowan & Partners, Tuffin Ferraby Taylor, Bilfinger GVA, Colliers, Brooke Smith Planning Consultants, Sitec and Cushman & Wakefield.

Signatories will gain access to details about how they are performing (according to RICS standards) across all six areas in comparison with their peers, as well as a spread of support, ideas and case studies from high performers to help drive up improvements for all. RICS has created two separate criteria metrics too so that both small and large firms are assessed fairly.

Alan Brookes, CEO of ARCADIS said:

“We are delighted to be an early adopter of the RICS’ Quality Mark. Our diversity and inclusion journey started a number of years ago but we still have a lot to do. By working with the RICS and our peers we hope to learn and share experiences for the benefit of the industry as a whole. The RICS are playing a critical role in raising awareness and sharing best practice. It is now up to all of us to rise to the challenge and attract the very best talent to our profession.”

Victoria Smith, Partner at Deloitte Real Estate, says:

“At Deloitte we value difference. We believe that an inclusive environment that embraces difference is crucial to our firm’s success, both in terms of attracting and retaining the best people and enabling us to provide innovative solutions to our clients’ most complex issues. We are delighted to support the RICS Quality Mark and see it as a very positive step forward for the industry.”

Many high profile organisations have also got behind the RICS’ Quality Mark initiative, and become official supporters. These include Women in Property, CBRE, the Government Property Unit, The Stephen Lawrence Trust, Freehold, British Land and Chainbow.

Liz Peace, former CEO of the British Property Federation and founder of Real Estate Balance is also supporting the initiative. She said:

“Everybody is talking about equality and diversity but the industry as a whole lacks focus and is suffering from too many initiatives. The RICS Inclusive Employer Quality Mark could be just what we need to pull together the many well-intentioned efforts that currently exist, into a coherent code of practice that will help companies understand, and then act to provide, a working environment that really does promote diversity and inclusion across all different groups and interests. I look forward to working with the RICS to promote the Quality Mark to the many and various component parts of the property industry.”