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14 JUN 2022

Pride 2022: LGBTQ+ representation in the profession

Kevin Keane MRICS, Technical Partner at e.surv Chartered Surveyors tells us his pathway into the profession and the power of representation.

Why did you become a surveyor?

I am asked this a lot! The surveying profession wasn’t something I knew much about when I was at school. We didn’t have any awareness of surveying as a career option when we were selecting our study options - or even thinking of university. But I always loved looking at houses – especially big, old ones. What I really wanted to do was become an architect - who knew that years later I’d marry one instead?

My reasons now for wanting to be a surveyor are different and not quite so one-dimensional. I really do love the profession; it’s a vibrant industry and one that I am proud to shape and promote for the next generation.

 

Why is representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the profession important?

Representation is so important. Perhaps if we had had LGBTQ+ representation and role models in the industry when I joined, it wouldn’t’have taken me so long to accept myself – both in the profession and in life. It’s important to be recognised, feel valued, and be included.

We must also have a better understanding and awareness of the communities in which we work. Businesses must look at the wording of internal and external communications to ensure everyone feels comfortable. By actively making small changes to the way we work and think, we can make so much impact.

 

What advice do you have for other young LGBTQ professionals considering a future in surveying?

Go for it! Be you and stay true to yourself.  Life is challenging enough at times without self-imposed barriers. Own it - and if a company or individual doesn’t like it, they are not the type of people you want to be around. For those that have a platform, we have a duty to question the status quo and challenge prejudice.

If you don’t feel ready or safe to be as visible or open, I would say research your employer’s (or prospective employer’s) Inclusivity and Diversity Policies, it should be one of the deciding factors in your thought process when joining a company.

Personally, I feel a duty to help create a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for all colleagues; one in which all interests are represented and that reflects the diversity of our communities. I am extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to make a difference (both as a member of RICS and as Chair of the LSL Inclusivity and Diversity Forum) and I encourage other young LGBTQ+ adults to find their voice and seek out opportunities to affect change, however small and however gradual.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” — Socrates