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Building People and DCS join forces to tackle inequality and improve social mobility




It's not easy to find genuine partners who seek nothing more than to serve the needs of others. no fanfare, no greed, no jostling for position, no reinventing the wheel, no going for glory, no stepping on each others toes, and no pursuit of size over quality. After all it's about people, and here at DiverseCity Surveyors, we take things one life and career, at a time; slow and steady wins the race.


We are of course talking about the team over at Building People, currently led by Chief-Dot Joiner Rebecca Lovelace. In fact, it was over ten (10) years ago, back in 2009/10, that DCS Founder and Chair Bola Abisogun OBE, first met Rebecca whilst she was at the helm of CircleThree. Both were passionate about the complete mismatch and support offered to what became commonly referred to as the 'non-traditional' talent pool, having met at a RoundTable event which then became the London Construction Diversity Forum 'LCDF', which Bola was appointed to Chair. Convened on the back of his earlier Chairmanship [during 2009/11] on the EHRC Inquiry into 'Race Discrimination in the Construction Industry' the steering group, due to our strategic cross-over and support to the diversity legacy and project deliverables espoused by the delivery of the 2012 Olympic Park, the membership of the LCDF read like a 'Who's Who' in Construction ED&I.



Credit: EHRC


Meetings were often held in Central London, at the home of the CITB, who were subsequently gifted the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect 'FIR' Agenda, now administered by CECA, being the product arising from the EHRC inquiry. It was from that point and perspective that Bola and Rebecca decided to explore, by way of further detailed discussions, their common industry wide aspirations. At the that time DCS was just five years young and largely still under the radar, operating more as a 'whinge club' for several Black Surveyors; who'd meet up three or four times a year to have a laugh [and a good cry!]; key members are listed below.......


Akin Alejogun FRICS

Samuel Aligbe MRICS

Wale Bamgbelu FRICS

Kwasi Boama MRICS

Stephen Irele MRICS

David Mark MBE FRICS

Arthur Norman MRICS

Lola Olatunji MRICS



Despite the fact that all [but one] are still overseas, choosing not to return to the UK, Bola remained the dreamy optimist and as such became devoted to making a difference for those coming behind him. Rebecca was in complete support of that journey although neither really knew what they were getting into. It definitely hasn't been easy, but then nothing good ever is and patience is indeed a virtue.


For Bola, it was and became a complete 'head-to-head' conversation with the profession, which as of August 2020, yielded a significant milestone; a publicly affirmed global commitment to advance the needs of Black Surveyors. However, in 2021, less than six months later and on the back of a COVD/19 ravaged economic landscape, which is no doubt tough for everyone, it would appear that we [as a sector / profession] are at risk of regressing by the same period of growth, yes, at least a whole decade. That the risk of causing more and immeasurable harm to the lives of young people _ already on the last rung of hope and access _ we are seemingly likely to undo the great work and #GoodTrouble espoused by RIEP John Lewis, in less than a calendar year. Such an act will cause irreparable damage to society, the profession and will ultimately be soul destroying for many.


So, in an attempt to put any 'competitive advantage' to one side both Rebecca and Bola _ following an amazing Advisory Committee meeting held yesterday [01.03.21] _ have decided to join forces to strategically address the growing imbalances within and across the sector. And, as we begin to amass the stark and indefensible evidence that would suggest that we are tangibly regressing at a rate of knots; it is likely that such preponderance of the stark reality will produce much bigger disparities, on a number of fronts.





One such barometer of the level of inequality, can found in the recent pay gap survey, share kindly by RICS approved firm recruitment firm, Macdonald and Company. The facts, by way of incontrovertible evidence, simply don't lie. As a sector and profession, we can and must do better....... for all.


"Diversity: Gender and Ethnic Disparities


The diversity pay gap has always been at the forefront of our survey reporting, notably by keeping track of the gender gap since 2013 in some regions. In the UK, after steady progress, unfortunately we have seen the gap widen, now at 27% (up from 17% in 2019). We can point to the effects of the pandemic as to why progress has dampened, though we hope this is improved as we settle into a ‘new-normal’ of flexible working and ensure we get back on the right track.

More pressing than ever is the matter of pay disparity between different ethnicities and reporting on the diversity pay gap in Real Estate. For the first time, we have collated salary data in the UK to show the extent of the disparity that exists in our industry, with results showing the overall difference between the median salary for those from a white ethnic background and of those from a BAME background standing at 20%. Salary differences by gender and ethnicity vary across the board, and notably, we’ve found sectors such as Asset Management come out on top in awarding the most equal pay remuneration, with Property Management and Corporate Real Estate showing some of the lowest rankings.

Base salary can only paint one half of the picture; reward packages are just as important for us to monitor. The report has shown a 26% work-benefits gap by ethnicity, particularly for financial-rewards (including bonus/commission, pension and professional membership fees) and alarmingly more disproportionate for those from black-ethnic backgrounds.

The industry is aware of its reputation and challenges, and as we address the lack of ethnic diversity in our organisations, we look forward to seeing salary and reward gaps narrow." _ Peter Moore MRICS, CEO



DiverseCity Surveyors are proud to be support Building People and their founding partners; listed below - to whom Bola is intrinsically and positively associated with, acting as NED / Member and Strategic Advisor respectively.


We (all) need to be bold, we (all) need to be honest, we don't need anymore research and we (all) need to collaborate ................ so when will YOU join the movement that is Building People?