Research highlights diversity challenge for property

New research highlights the public perception challenge facing the property sector, with the majority of NSW residents surveyed still unconvinced about the level of diversity in the industry, despite a concerted effort to develop and embed diversity programs in recent years.

The research, contained in a report from Property NSW, supports a recent study by the Property Council of Australia which highlighted concerns around the “boys’ club mentality” and a lack of diversity in senior leadership positions as the biggest deterrents for women entering the sector.

The research shows that 60 per cent of NSW residents surveyed believe the property industry – defined as real estate and property management – has limited to no diversity in its workforce.

“The property industry has moved the needle on diversity in recent years, with the establishment of the Property Male Champions of Change and numerous committees and mentoring programs to help improve diversity across the sector,” said Property NSW CEO, Brett Newman.

“However, it’s clear from the research that despite significant progress, public perceptions remain largely consistent with those of the industry.

The report supports the wealth of empirical evidence that draws a direct parallel between organisations which embrace diversity and better performance, including a potential uplift to business performance by 80 per cent.

“As organisations grapple with increasingly complex problems and the need to innovate to remain competitive, diversity is a way of bringing new ideas and solutions to the table,” Mr. Newman said.

The report calls for property companies to take a more holistic approach to diversity, including a focus on a variety of personal and professional backgrounds, because of the benefits it can deliver in terms of expanding the talent pool, encouraging diverse and innovative thinking, enhancing productivity and ultimately delivering better outcomes for customers. 

The report also calls on property companies to do a better job of communicating their diversity initiatives to stakeholders and the public, in order to negate some of the public misconceptions around the commitment to diversity in the sector.

“Greater diversity brings a wealth of benefits. It’s important the property sector continues to deliver vital diversity initiatives while promoting the great work it has already achieved in this space,” Mr. Newman said.

Property Council NSW Executive Director, Jane Fitzgerald, said the new report is another important piece of work that shows the steps the property industry is taking towards a more diverse workforce.

“Property NSW should be congratulated on recognising and supporting diversity within the property sector,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“As newly appointed members of the Property Council’s NSW Diversity committee they will have an opportunity to directly impact the broader sector and the commitment is welcomed.”

Property NSW is taking significant steps to improve its approach to diversity. The organisation now has 38 per cent of women in senior leadership positions, up from 20 per cent four years ago. 

Property NSW is also part of the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation’s new Diversity Advisory Council, which aims to broaden the focus on diversity across the Department.

Property NSW has also been appointed to the PCA’s Diversity Committee for 2017, as part of a renewed focus on supporting diversity initiatives across the sector.

Read Property NSW’s Insight Report, Diversity in the Property Sector, HERE

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