Over 130 people gathered on the 4th of May for the annual Real Estate Balance Flagship event hosted by Sue Clayton, Executive Director of CBRE.

The theme of the event was the recent Real Estate Balance/PwC Report ‘The power of real balance – how diversity can transform your real estate business’.

Vivienne King, Chair, Real Estate Balance opened the event giving some of the findings of a recent survey, in which 380 people in 40 companies gave their views on gender diversity in their organisations.

80% of women working in real estate surveyed see addressing gender issue as important for job satisfaction, but less then half of men agree.

35% of men surveyed believe their company deals extremely well with gender issue, whereas just 11% of women agree.

When employees were asked what they would like to see introduced to achieve increased gender balance, they put Cultural and Behavioural Change’ at Number One.

In March 2017 the results of the Survey were launched in a Report produced by PwC ‘The power of real balance – how diversity can transform your real estate business’.

The Report concludes with a practical 10-point plan to get companies and organisations on track for strengthening their gender balance and realising the benefits.


1.Board makes a clear business case for gender balance and promotes it as business critical


2. Promote relevant role models that ambitious women and men can aspire to be like
3. Ensure key talent decisions take full account of gender issues and access the widest pool of talent

Organisation Buy-In

4. Train line managers to understand the value and buy into the need for change and equip them with the tools to deliver change
5. Create an atmosphere which encourages employees to speak about gender issues … and if they do, ensure they are appropriately handled

Agile Working

6. Ensure flexible working is open to all and isn’t a barrier to promotion

Gender Neutral

7. Create a working environment that includes not excludes


8. Use your data to check out your male-female ratio:

  • Among recruits
  • Assigned to the big projects
  • Moving up the line into senior management

9. Use your data to:

  • identify your balance barriers
  • set your targets
  • track your progress
  • celebrate your success

10. Intervention

Develop ways of working which retain and progress your talent on a daily basis.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Jacey Graham, Director, Brook Graham Ltd, global diversity and inclusion consultants.

Watch a video ofJacey Graham speechand the following Q&A

Since the mid-1990s Jacey has been at the forefront of building the need for gender balance in the UK and internationally at Board and leadership levels. She was a founder of the FTSE 100 Cross Company Mentoring Programme which prepared women for board level roles is co-author of Cranfield University’s annual 100 Women to Watch list and author of several books, including ‘A Women’s Place is in the Boardroom’ published by Palgrave Macmillan. She works with a range of stakeholders, including Boards, ExCos, HR leadership teams and under-represented groups of employees, advising on strategy and actions which bring about culture change in male-gendered organisations and which develop the female talent pipeline.

Brook Graham Ltd work with many leading global companies including Vodafone, Siemens, Shell, Sodexo, Santander, Thomson Reuters, Associated British Foods and

Jacey shared some best practice examples of how companies are making change happen and achieving a better gender balance in their organisations. The 3 areas she covered were:

  • Unconscious bias and inclusive leadership;
  • Pro-active talent management and the importance of taking positive action and thirdly,
  • ‘Reciprocal Mentoring’ as a method of learning more about women’s experiences and the challenges they face in male gendered work environments.

She quoted the Native American saying ‘To understand a man (or woman), you have to walk a mile in their moccasins’

Before opening up to the audience for comments and questions, Andy Pyle, KPMG and member of the Real Estate Balance Members’ Programme Committee announced that a series of workshops on inclusive leadership were being planned for members – so to watch this space!

Areas covered in the Q&A included working across cultures and in multi-national companies and how can small companies and organisations do some of this and everyone was encouraged to take action and work with Real Estate Balance to turn gender balance rhetoric into reality and to create a more dynamic, robust and representative industry as a result.

The event concluded with a lively networking session.