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RICS support ethnicity pay gap reporting across UK construction & real estate advisory firms

Construction may have disappeared from the list of top 10 occupations for young people, but the government’s proposals to implement ethnicity pay gap legislation have been welcomed by RICS in helping construction and professional services firms identify any actions needed to create a more inclusive workforce.

Last month [September 2018], the construction sector fell to 12th position on the list of top jobs for people aged 22 to 29 (according to the Office for National Statistics). This is despite salaries for UK property professionals increasing in 2018, to a 10-year high with graduates in the sector earning on average £25,000-£30,000 a year.

In a new move by the government to ensure equal opportunities for all and encourage more inclusive workforces, all firms – whether in the public or private sectors – may be forced to reveal their ethnicity pay gap under its proposed ethnicity pay gap legislation.

Barry Cullen, Diversity and Inclusion Director at RICS commented: “Gender pay gap reporting has encouraged construction and professional services firms to identify any actions needed to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce including their leadership. Extending mandatory pay gap reporting beyond gender will have the same positive effect and will help companies gain the insight they need to ensure all staff – regardless of gender or ethnicity – have equal opportunities.”

He adds: “Despite the vast range of roles in the construction sector for people from all backgrounds, the industry is predominantly made-up of white males. Therefore, the disparity between how much employees in construction from ethnic minorities are paid, compared with their white counterparts is likely to be very disproportionate.”

To help construction firms attract more diverse talent, monitor pay and tackle wider issues of diversity and inclusion, RICS is launching its updated Inclusive Employer Quality Mark (IEQM) later this year. The initiative asks firms to pledge their commitment to adopting and continually improving across a number of key areas including leadership, recruitment, culture and development. Signatories of the pledge are assessed by RICS on an ongoing basis.

Mr Cullen adds: “We are committed to working with industry employers to encourage transparency, and our revised Inclusive Employer Quality Mark will include measures that will help firms assess and improve upon pay differentials and attract a more diverse workforce.”

"Gender Pay gap reporting has encouraged construction and professional services firms to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Extending mandatory pay gap reporting beyond gender will have the same positive effect..."

Barry Cullen - Diversity and Inclusion Director, RICS

Earlier this year, DiverseCity Surveyors (DCS) – a support group for BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) surveyors – was invited to a unique roundtable event at 10 Downing Street where they discussed ways of improving engagement and opportunities for BAME professionals.

Commenting on the ethnicity pay gap proposals, DCS founder and chair, Bola Abisogun FRICS of Urbanis Ltd said: “Despite Brexit, our industry continues to offer a vast range of well-paid career opportunities for everyone – regardless of gender, ethnicity or background – and prop-tech, including BIM, use of drones, virtual reality and AI, is revolutionising [and disrupting] many traditional roles and making it a very exciting time to be joining the industry. Yet, unfortunately, we still struggle to attract and retain diverse talent from apprenticeship level up and into senior leadership positions.

“With recent anecdotal evidence acknowledging that black graduates and those from a minority background achieve on average 23% less pay than their white counterparts, this new legislation could prove to be the very catalyst for action that our industry needs to make it more attractive for people from ethnic minority groups to consider a role in the sector.”

The RICS article can be accessed here

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