Racism, Bias And Self-Doubt: Being BAME In Real Estate In 2019

R eal estate shapes every aspect of the world we live in. But it doesn't reflect society, especially when it comes to ethnicity. Just 1.2% of people working in the built environment in the UK identify as black, Asian and minority ethnic, according to data from the RICS and EY. That is compared to 14% of the UK population, and 40% of the London population. The gender gap in UK property is well known and often discussed, with just 14% of the industry female. The ethnicity gap is even wider, and the record of property companies in hiring, supporting and promoting BAME staff even worse.

Bisnow teamed up with networking organisation BAME in Property to undertake a survey of its 400 members and find out what it is like to identify as BAME and work in UK property in 2019.

We found that racism and discrimination were commonplace, and about 70% of those who responded said they had experienced racism or discrimination of some kind — sometimes subtle and insidious, sometimes open and vile. There is still very much a sense that the avenues to the top of the profession are closed off, something that even a cursory glance at UK property boardrooms would confirm.

Reasons to be positive? UK property is changing. The conversations about diversity being held within companies and lobbying organisations and in the media are at least highlighting that a problem exists. And those who responded had some concrete ideas about how the industry can turn this talk into tangible change, change that for BAME professionals in property cannot come quickly enough. — Mike Phillips, UK Editor