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9 FEB 2021

Introduction of Diversity and Inclusion fellowship characteristic

We are proud of the talent in our global profession working to effect positive change in the built and natural environment and we want to see a profession where every individual has an equal opportunity to develop, thrive, contribute and succeed.

It is crucial for the future of the profession that we tackle barriers to entry and encourage a more diverse profession. Since introducing the existing fellowship characteristics framework in 2015 we have aimed to open fellowship to the widest possible range of chartered surveyors. This has led to some excellent showcasing of achievements across the categories of champion, expert, influencer and role model.

There are three core principles at the heart of being an RICS Fellow:

  • acting to further RICS and the profession
  • acting for the benefit of a third party to reflect RICS’ public interest mandate
  • promoting RICS objectives and the profession.

These three fellowship principles are integral to interpreting the characteristics. They ensure that all Fellows are contributing to the RICS objectives as set out in our Royal Charter: ‘to secure the advancement and facilitate the acquisition of that knowledge which constitutes the profession of a surveyor … and to maintain and promote the usefulness of the profession for the public advantage’.

As a Fellow myself, I am immensely proud that we have introduced this new characteristic. Diversity and inclusion is crucial for the success of natural and built environment industries and indeed for the future of our profession. By recognising diversity and inclusion as an international measure of excellence, we will be able to recognise a greater range of achievements and inspirational role models, opening the door to the best talent from around the globe.

Kath Fontana
RICS President 2020-21

How the profession maintains these core principles evolves as we adapt to the challenges and demands of the 21st century. Our Futures report published in 2020 identified three core areas of focus: data and technology, sustainability, and talent and skills. These three areas are identifiable across the fellowship characteristics and in the achievements demonstrated in applications but we have recognised that a significant topic has not been captured.

RICS commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives is clear, and whilst an applicant’s advocacy work or commitment to the same can be evidenced through some of the existing characteristics we do not feel that this important area is sufficiently clear in the fellowship process, we have therefore introduced a new characteristic to directly represent this.

As part of the application for fellowship, applicants can now evidence how they have demonstrated the Diversity and Inclusion characteristic in their career. This could be from many areas of work or achievement such as setting up initiatives to promote equality in their organisation, mentoring colleagues from a minority background or creating new processes within their firm's recruitment to ensure a fair application process for all.

The launch of the Diversity and Inclusion professional characteristic as part of the RICS Fellow application is a sign of our ongoing commitment to effecting positive change and building a 21st century professional body through equality, diversity and inclusion.

Kath Fontana, RICS President 2020-21 said, "as a Fellow myself, I am immensely proud that we have introduced this new characteristic. Diversity and inclusion is crucial for the success of natural and built environment industries and indeed for the future of our profession. By recognising diversity and inclusion as an international measure of excellence, we will be able to recognise a greater range of achievements and inspirational role models, opening the door to the best talent from around the globe.”

Barry Cullen, Diversity Analyst at RICS commented: “diversity and inclusion is not a minority issue - it is relevant to everyone in the profession because we can only truly deliver to the public advantage if we reflect the needs and experiences of the diverse societies we serve. The introduction of the new Diversity and Inclusion characteristic is an important step to tackling barriers to entry and to ensure a more diverse profession."

Barry Cullen
Diversity Analyst, RICS

  • You can find out more about the new Diversity and Inclusion characteristic, as well some changes to the existing characteristics here.
  • Ian Jeal is Director of Education & Qualifications at RICS