August has been a particularly busy period for the leadership team at DCS and more now than ever, it is time to map out and take significant steps towards building a more representative industry.
Let’s start with some well documented facts:
15% of the UK population qualifies as BAME and within that 23% is of working age, yet, amidst the constant talk of a ‘crippling’ skills shortage, across the real estate profession and construction industry; the latter of which employed 2.73 million people in 2018, of which less than 6% of the talent pool identified as BAME?
Black graduates earn on average 23% less than white graduates – Alan Lewis, Building Magazine (April 2016)
BEIS data released in 2017 showed the construction sectors workforce had the highest proportion of white people of any UK industry, with just 13% of the workforce identifying as female. It is probably safe to assume then that, at present, construction is not the career of choice if you are a woman and/or from a minority background – Lucy Alderson, Construction News (November 2018)
Is there an over-arching message (in the above scenario) or are they all just accepted norms?
Moreover, it is highly likely that the ethnicity pay gap could be even wider than the gender pay gap, which already places the UK construction industry as the worst performing industry, during 2018.
So, does the above statistics hold true throughout the careers of many BAME professionals, and if so, why?
Given the ever increasing numbers of BAME students at many of the RICS accredited learning institutions across the UK, the persistent low representation across the UK Real Estate and Construction industry ‘RE&CI’ has been thoroughly researched and documented over the last three to four decades. The most recent significant piece of work was commissioned by the EHRC in its report ‘Race Discrimination in the Construction Industry' in 2009. Suffice to say 2019, represents a decade in time since DCS Founder & Chair, Bola Abisogun OBE successfully chaired that piece of ground-breaking research for the EHRC and so, perhaps, now is a good time to reflect on the industry’s achievements during the last decade.
So, could the BAME / non-traditional contingent become part of the solution to the current and ever growing skills shortage in the UK? If not, why not? And, if the BAME or ‘non-traditional contingent' cannot be part of the solution, then who will…….particularly as we approach the conundrum that BREXIT has now set before us?
Historically late to many parties, including the arrival of the innovative technological processes, Britain’s ‘RE&CI’ love affair with all things ‘disruption’ presents many risks and opportunities. But let us focus on the opportunities for just a moment. It is clear to many that the elephant in the room is the need to cast the net of opportunity wider to encapsulate the ‘entire’ talent pool and not just that which reflects the status quo. The plight of our female counterparts has never been greater although the gender issue has been and continues to be suitably addressed by the RE&CI; it’s far from perfect, but the recognition is there and tangible / measurable outcomes are aplenty. Boardrooms are featuring many more female professionals and leaders, both senior and middle management is becoming increasingly representative of the female populace. But there is still, for the most part, a European dominance across the talentpool, despite many more BAME professionals openly and in some cases, desperately, seeking an opportunity to participate and excel. No special measures are required here just a simple recognition that BAME leadership is a viable alternative and often one that delivers beyond the expectations of many. With the evolution of HR practices you can even ‘try before you buy’, with little or no long-term commitment; aka the Intern.
But the real challenge isn’t [actually] the securing of an appropriate position – despite the intrinsic difficulty in achieving just that. No, it’s not that at all, in fact it is the ability to keep your ‘appropriate position’ and stay in the RE&CI. This point leads us to suggest that the proverbial elephant in the room, ‘E.I.T.R’ is actually the ability to stem the huge numbers of BAME professionals that have left the RE&CI and continue to do so, at an alarming level. It is for this reason that DCS, over the last 12months, has been inundated with enquiries from all quarters of the RE&CI both domestically and overseas. It is also the reason why the DCS Board have embarked upon a refresh of our leadership team to further engage with the sector in a more meaningful and sustainable way.
And following a strategy meeting at RICS HQ, with sector leading colleagues Mr Jeremy Crook OBE from BTEG and Mr Nana Agyeman and Chris Ankobia from AccessUK; positive discussions have yielded a multi-faceted strategy that has been uniquely distilled to deliver key business to business objectives and wider commercial opportunities for DCS strategic partners and core members.
As such the following is an overview of our ‘refreshed’ DCS Leadership team:
Mr Bola Abisogun OBE, Founder & Chair [Associate Director, Cast Consultancy]
Mr Justin Carty, Vice Chair [Senior Director, CBRE]
Mr Samuel May, Head of UK & Global Strategy [Associate Director, JLL]
Ms Faith Locken, Head of Strategic Planning & Growth / Co-Chair DCS Committee [Surveyor, JLL]
Mr Alexander Smith, Head of Corporate Hospitality / Co-Chair DCS Committee [Assistant Director, Deloitte]
Ms Karen Ching, Head of Personal Development [Assistant Director, Deloitte]
Ms Audrey Vanderpuye, Head of Member Engagement, Events [Valuation Surveyor, Deloitte]
Mr Arnold Musisi, Head of Member Engagement, Training [Development Manager, Lum Chang Holdings]
Mr Joel Ampah, External Engagement Manager [Consultant, City Calling]
Ms Nana Julia Gbadyu, Internal Engagement Manager [Assistant PM, Pick Everard]
Mr Luke Halls, Internal Strategy Manager [Commercial Manager, Transport for London]
Mr Sunny-Thomas Obasuyi, External Engagement Manager [Assistant PM, L&Q]
Ms So Sum Lee, Internal Engagement / External Strategy Manager [Consultant, Inner Circle Consulting]
Ms Georgina Walker, Data Social Media / Internal Strategy Manager [Commercial Surveyor, Strettons]
In summary, with a new political landscape, we actively look forward to engaging with Central and Local Government agencies, along with the Prime Minister’s Office and all sectors of the RE&CI………watch this space!