Diverse Perspectives

A report to be published by the Government next week, ‘Ethnicity Facts and Figures’ sets out the continuing disparities in opportunity for ethnic minorities in the UK. This includes evidence of higher unemployment, lower homeownership and lower university attendance rates among those with BAME backgrounds. The case being made for action on diversity has moved beyond doing ‘the right thing’; to be rooted in commercial imperative. A study by McKinsey suggests that those businesses in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to exceed industry median financial performance – and, by comparison, a greater impact than gender diversity (15% more likely). According to the RICS, just 1.3% of chartered surveyors are recorded as from BAME backgrounds, compared with 14.6% representation in the wider workforce. 57% of surveyed firms have 100% white British leadership. And 61% state that the perception of the property industry is the biggest barrier to increased diversity. This underscores the importance of addressing these perceptions at the point that people choose careers (starting at Years 8 and 9 in school) – not just in the workplace. Looking forwards, more BAME surveyors are entering the industry via graduate and apprenticeship programmes, suggesting that things may be changing.