As published in EG Starting Out in Real Estate on 29 August 2023

The real estate sector has long been associated with a lack of diversity. But while women and minority groups are still underrepresented, especially at senior levels, we are making progress. It is now widely understood that diverse companies are more profitable and increasingly winning more business as clients seek to work with partners who are socially responsible.

Real estate companies are increasingly implementing DEI strategies and targets to improve diversity within their organisations and recruitment plays a pivotal role in this. At Hollis, recruitment is one of the four key areas informing our DEI strategy which involves attracting candidates from diverse backgrounds and removing the barriers that exist for people in underrepresented groups. We have found that breaking barriers to recruitment requires a significant emphasis on educating people about the industry’s wide-ranging opportunities beyond the common perceptions of ‘hard hats and hi-vis jackets’.

Breaking stereotypes

Ours is a sector often associated solely with construction and manual labour, overlooking the broad range of roles available. By raising awareness about the breadth of careers within the sector, we can inspire individuals to explore and consider these diverse pathways. Real estate does not limit itself to individuals with specific degrees or qualifications and contrary to popular belief, extends far beyond residential. It is a field that intersects with numerous disciplines, opening doors for individuals with varied educational backgrounds and regardless of personality type, gender, ethnicity, disability, neurodivergencies or socio-economic background.

Finance professionals, for example, can contribute their expertise in property investment and financial analysis; architects and urban planners play pivotal roles in shaping the built environment; environmentalists and sustainability experts bring forth ideas of eco-friendly development; marketing and communication specialists thrive in promoting properties and attracting tenants; and analytical thinkers, strategists, negotiators, and problem solvers can all find their place within commercial property.

Options to consider

Property companies across the UK are looking to attract future talent, therefore taking the time to attend careers fairs, hold workshops and create work placement opportunities. There is a wealth of opportunities in the industry now for you to take hold of, and more than ever before. Attending careers events and securing work placements is an excellent way to learn about the industry and develop important skills, but also to foster your network and set yourself up with a breadth of connections for your career.

Besides from the benefits to your development, work placements offer the opportunity to get involved with the positive impact the property sector has and give back to communities and society as a whole. Whether it’s revitalising neighbourhoods, promoting sustainable development, or creating affordable housing, the industry has the power to shape and transform the built environment in ways that enhance quality of life. If you’re passionate about making a difference, you may feel inspired about what real estate has to offer.

If you think ahead and imagine your future career, did you know that real estate could be an option? When it comes to building a career in the property sector, the possibilities are endless. Real estate is searching for a new generation of diverse talent to join and contribute to this dynamic and vital sector; make sure you get involved and take all the opportunities you can to nurture a successful career in the discipline of your choice.