Diverse talent

To say that the property industry is not renowned for its diversity would be to put it politely. The industry is however on a path of change and this is a subject that we are passionate about at C&W. In the modern world, diversity is increasingly seen as a moral obligation for corporations. Regardless of whether you share this view, diversity is simply good business. This point was put succinctly by Andrew Hauser (Exec Director at the Bank of England) last week in a speech about diversity in the FX industry. In this speech he cited evidence to support three contentions: (1) diversity allows you to fish in a bigger talent pool, (2) diverse teams make better decisions by applying multiple perspectives, and (3) diversity increases empathy with one’s customer base. He also pointed to three factors which will accelerate change looking forwards: (1) technological disruption is skewing the skills mix away from male-dominated ‘boiler room’ brokerage environments and towards creativity, client service and risk management. 50% of wholesale banking profit will (according to McKinsey) be created by 10% of the future workforce, but as yet these roles don’t exist, (2) similar tech trends are opening up market participation to new players, which tend to attract more diverse workforces with different skills, and (3) culture change (both centrally driven in response to regulation, and bottom up, driven by the expectations of a younger workforce) is a glacial force shaping the future of the industry. There are many direct parallels here with the world of real estate. As skills requirements in our industry change, the challenge for all parties will be to stay relevant by bringing in new perspectives.