NextGen survey 2023 findings

Report / 08 February 2024

The Real Estate Balance NextGen survey 2023 is one of the most significant pieces of research of the under-35s and those in the first ten years of their careers in real estate on issues relating to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the UK.

It follows previous versions of the survey in 2020 and 2022, with the study aiming to collect quantitative and qualitative insights relating to three key areas:

  • Barriers to entry and widening access to our industry.
  • The prevalence of inappropriate attitudes and behaviours and how to tackle them.
  • Developing inclusive cultures.

The full NextGen survey 2023 findings document can be downloaded here.

Property Week's coverage of the research can be viewed here.

Important findings include:

For the first time, we utilised Social Mobility Foundation tools to paint a picture of privilege in our respondents and compared the ethnic profile of our participants to the 2021 Censuses for England and Wales and London.

The percentage of respondents who found out about real estate for the first time through a family member or friend or via chance has decreased from 84% in 2020 to 80% in 2022 and to 70% in 2023; indicating that while progress is being made in tackling the perception of ours being a so-called ‘secret sector’ – difficult to access socially and economically - significant challenges remain.

Respondents continue to believe that the best way to widen access and remove barriers to entry to real estate lies in a combination of school talks, general awareness raising by companies working collaboratively to promote careers and routes into the industry, a variety of entry points for school leavers and more apprenticeship schemes.

The percentage of respondents who had not witnessed or experienced any inappropriate attitudes and/or behaviours in the 12 months to November 2023 remained exactly the same as in our 2022 survey. However, the prevalence of classism, ableism and ageism appears to have increased. Sexism remains as a significant concern for real estate, with a majority of female respondents reporting witnessing or experiencing it.

Close to half of those who had witnessed or experienced inappropriate attitudes and/or behaviours said they were dealt with rarely or never, and a majority said they were not dealt with well even when they were.

Our respondents said they believe the most effective ways to challenge inappropriate attitudes and/or behaviours were strong messaging from senior leaders, examples being set by colleagues and increased emotional intelligence and awareness demonstrated by line managers.

Respondents were, however, broadly pleased with the support received in their working environments across several dimensions, with the areas employers may wish to consider placing a greater emphasis on including career progression, work/life balance and mental wellbeing.

The NextGen Committee has also distilled the findings into four themes which they are encouraging real estate and associated organisations to discuss and action changes upon. They are detailed at the end of the document in these areas: creating culture in the ‘new normal’; empowering people to speak up; change beyond your own organisation; encouraging allyship and collective responsibility.

Everyone at Real Estate Balance is thankful to all who took part in the NextGen survey 2023.

We are also thankful to Clifford Chance for hosting the very well-received launch of this research on Tuesday 30th January.

If you would like to find out more about the NextGen Committee, please click here or join their LinkedIn group here.