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Press release

13 AUG 2020

RICS announces initiatives to advance inclusion for black professionals

Earlier this this year, an ongoing conversation between RICS and a number of its black members was rightly accelerated.  RICS is committed to an inclusive profession where every individual has an opportunity to thrive and fulfil their potential.

Following RICS’ Global CEO Sean Tompkins’ personal commitment alongside other RICS leaders to meet with black professionals to hear their experience of working in our sector, and subsequent discussions, RICS today sets out steps to improve the experience and representation of black professionals. As its first steps, in the UK and US, RICS will:
 
  • Work to address the lack of visible black role models in the profession: including by immediately establishing a panel of black professionals willing to contribute to, join and lead articles, seminars, workshops, panels, conferences and school visits. RICS will seek to work with members of this panel at every opportunity to ensure visibility of the talented black individuals we have in this profession
  • Launch a reverse mentoring programme so senior leaders of the profession can better understand black professionals, so that black professionals can, in turn, learn from senior figures and gain access to a wider network through their mentors.
  • Ensure that the next RICS profession salary survey gathers information to throw light on the ethnicity pay gap and help inform next steps.
  • Conduct and publish details of its own ethnicity pay gap alongside its statutory gender pay reporting, as well as seeking firms prepared to take part in, and publish their ethnicity pay gap data ahead of any statutory requirements in the UK.  
As a result of the conversations, Ayesha Ofori of the Black Property Network, Bola Abisogun OBE of DiverseCity Surveyors, and RICS will be working together to improve the professional experience and opportunities for black members in the UK.
 
In the Americas we have established a dedicated working group, led by Peter Smith, Chair of our Americas World Regional Board to help us deliver the positive changes. RICS will actively seek other individuals, firms and organisations to work with us and in doing so help inspire future generations into the industry and this profession.
 
In underlining our commitment to a diverse and inclusive profession, RICS will be reviewing and updating its broader diversity strategy and action plans for the profession internationally later in the year as we champion diversity and inclusion, working with our members to develop these plans.
 
Richard Collins, RICS Executive Director, comments: “These are first steps, and RICS will continue to listen to the views and experiences of our black professionals. The future of the profession, and its ability to meet challenges and deliver to the public advantage depends on a workforce that is representative of the society we serve.” 
 
As part of its listening sessions, RICS heard uncomfortable truths about the experiences of black professionals, including being treated differently, comments about their ethnicity rather than about their professional abilities, and less access to mentoring, influential networks and high-profile projects. 
 
Richard Collins, RICS Executive Director, comments: “The feedback we received is unacceptable. It runs counter to the values of fairness and merit-based equality of opportunity that RICS holds as central to its identity as a professional body. We will continue to work with our members and stakeholders to drive positive change that will improve opportunity for black professionals, build a more diverse profession, and inspire new generations of talent to join and be welcomed within our industry.”
 
Richard added: “We would like to thank all those who were, and remain, willing to meet to educate us on the issues openly. Change will happen much quicker if leaders across our industry take the time to listen, learn and adapt their business cultures for the future.”
 
RICS is actively seeking individuals, firms and organisations who would like work with us to advance these initiatives and build a more inclusive profession.
 
To register your interest in becoming part of our panel or participate in reverse mentoring, please contact us here.