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Real Estate Balance is a campaigning and advocacy organisation which aims to improve diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the real estate industry so that it better reflects the communities it is part of.
We were formed in 2015 by seven pioneering women to address gender imbalance at senior levels in UK real estate businesses and we will continue to work towards increasing the representation of women on the Boards and leadership teams of UK property companies, whether they are private or public, as per the recommendations in the FTSE Women Leaders Review.
However, we have widened our scope to include broader D&I objectives and we work with other organisations in or close to the real estate industry to achieve measurable achievements, such as those relating to ethnic diversity recommended by the Parker Review. We also advocate for opportunities for access and progression in our industry regardless of an individual’s socioeconomic background.
Real Estate Balance is a membership organisation comprising many different types of businesses, both large and small, from across the real estate sector. Our small executive team punches far beyond their weight because of the support of our members who populate committees and task forces to lead campaigns and a wide range of other initiatives.
Working through this model, Real Estate Balance facilitates and enables its members to make real progress in achieving a diverse and inclusive culture in their respective organisations and therefore aims to contribute to the enhanced performance of the sector as a whole.
The four key strands of our strategy are:
Focus on Leadership
We will maintain and enhance our partnership with industry leaders and influencers (CEOs and senior leadership teams) to support them in driving cultural change within their companies.
Focus on Best Practice
We will expand our efforts to work with other tiers of management, supporting them in D&I initiatives and helping them improve the pipeline of talent by identifying best practice that can then be shared across our membership.
Focus on Opportunity
We will support, empower and learn from the younger people in our industry and create an improved supply of new talent, working primarily through our NextGen Committee and successful and popular speed mentoring and speed reverse mentoring events.
Focus on Collaboration
We will work closely with other campaigning organisations, sharing knowledge and pooling resources, to encourage and embed other dimensions of D&I beyond gender, race and ethnicity and social mobility through our Network of Networks.
Our Action Plan
We will continue to campaign for change as we have done since 2015 through an agenda of ambitious but achievable initiatives.
Continue to be real estate industry D&I thought leaders through our Policy and Campaigns Committee
We established our Policy and Campaigns Committee in 2021 to bring together senior real estate professionals from across our membership to ensure the policy recommendations we make and campaigns we promote are valuable and impactful.
Update our CEO Commitments
The key tool in our ‘top down’ approach with our CEOs and senior leaders, our CEO Commitments are being updated in 2023 following a consultation exercise with our members and act as concise but comprehensive guidance on achieving our shared D&I principles.
The next stage in our diversity data collection work
We have always believed that collecting data and understanding how to use it is fundamental to enacting change, which is why we produced Can I Ask You a Personal Question? A guide on collecting diversity data in the workplace with PwC in 2022. Our working group will now be focusing on whether the guidance is being adopted by organisations and how to improve trust between employers and employees to ensure the disclosure of diversity data.
Focus on people managers
The most important relationship many of us have in the workplace are with our immediate line manager and they therefore have a crucial role to play in ensuring we feel like we belong and have fair opportunities for progression in our careers. We will increase our work with this level of professionals to ensure they have peer support and access to information to help them progress the underrepresented talent in their teams.
Include and engage our members across the regions of Britain
Real Estate Balance is now well established enough to be able to devolve more of our activities outside of London. This has included hosting events in Manchester and Bristol and with more planned in 2024 to support our members across Britain.
Establish an industry D&I benchmark
We want to promote the value of diverse and inclusive workplace cultures by building upon our research work with the launch of a benchmark in 2025 encompassing qualitative and quantitative data to allow our members to establish where they are on their own D&I journeys and compare their progress against each other.
Promote the activities of our members together with relevant and inspiring achievements from elsewhere
We will continue to do this to enhance awareness of best practice so that our members can learn from others in our industry and beyond.
Our Tactics and Tools
The methods we use to progress D&I across our membership and the industry are:
We will run a programme of events including round tables, workshops, seminars, training and mentoring to help our members learn and share best practice.
We have updated and improved our online presence, both on our website and on social media, so that we are considered a valuable source of useful information and networking for our members and the industry as a whole.
Our monthly member-only newsletter and other interested individuals and groups, to disseminate up to date information on our activities.
We run an active programme of media engagement to keep the industry informed and to keep D&I high in the real estate news agenda.
We survey our members and their staff every two years in the most comprehensive D&I research in UK real estate and share our findings and insights across our membership. Our NextGen Committee also ask the under-35s on their views on accessing the industry, the prevalence of inappropriate attitudes in the sector and other issues relevant to up-and-coming property professionals.
Our recently relaunched Parents Network organises cross-company affinity groups for all parents at our members and is the Real Estate Balance thinktank for family-friendly initiatives and events.
Practical support for members
We provide practical support for our members to help them with their own D&I initiatives.
Our members are the best advocates for D&I and we work hard to increase our membership base because it is only by working together that we can implement the changes required to be a truly diverse and inclusive industry.