Cushman & Wakefield announces ambitious UK Diversity & Inclusion strategy

George Roberts, Head of UK & Ireland at Cushman & Wakefield

Cushman & Wakefield UK has released the details of its most ambitious Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) strategy yet.

The real estate services firm is committed to attracting, retaining and developing the best talent in the industry and, following a deep assessment and re-evaluation of how it supports D&I, it has embarked upon a series of enhancements and new initiatives.

An evidence-based approach underpins the firm’s UK Diversity & Inclusion Strategy 2020-2024 which also sets out ambitious targets in key areas. These include increasing:

  • The % of workforce that is female to 47% by 2024
  • The % of female Associates and Partners to 39% by 2024
  • The % of Associates and above from an ethnic minority group to 12% by 2024
  • The % of workforce that has declared a disability to 10% by 2024
  • The % of workforce that identifies and declares as LGBTQ+ to 3% by 2024

Using 2020 figures as a baseline, Cushman & Wakefield UK will publish their progress against these targets as part of a new annual Diversity & Inclusion report.

George Roberts, Head of UK & Ireland at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “We are committed to creating an inclusive environment where everyone in our UK business feels comfortable about bringing their whole self to work and where diversity helps the business to think differently. Doing so is simply the right thing to do. Fostering and developing new perspectives will benefit our people, our clients and the communities in which we work.

“By the time we have delivered this strategy I want to be able to say that we have the most diverse workforce in our industry, that an understanding of diversity is built into everything we do and that our desire to be at the forefront of ‘What’s Next’ is supported by an inclusive culture that drives creativity and new thinking.”

To achieve its targets, Cushman & Wakefield UK has announced a raft of new training programmes, external partnerships, listening and support groups, sponsorships and best practice guidelines, as well as continued investment and enhanced support for Inspire, its UK Diversity & Inclusion programme.

Inspire is centred around five pillars of Gender, LGBTQ+, Ethnicity, Wellbeing, and Carers, and as a group has been instrumental in bringing about positive change within the business. Inspire-led initiatives have included the introduction of the +1 work experience initiative to provide access to those with no industry connections; training for mental health first aiders and champions; enhanced 3+3 weeks paternity leave scheme; and a returnship programme for new mothers.

Under the D&I strategy, new initiatives include (but are not limited to):

  • Significant and regular training programmes, or ‘Teach Ins’, for leadership on topics and issues across the D&I spectrum. This will work in tandem with listening groups to help identify barriers and opportunities for support and training.
  • A new sponsorship programme for senior women will be introduced in Q1 2021.
  • A default position that roles can be performed flexibly, part-time or on a job-share basis.
  • A workplace and technology review to ensure both are disability friendly alongside a communications campaign to identify clear priority areas for action.
  • Every colleague from an ethnic minority group will be offered an individual action plan as part of the 2021 Performance Management process and supported by a mentor.
  • Introducing anonymised job applications, reducing the risk of unconscious bias, will be a key project for Q1 2021 and beyond.

Karen Clements, UK Executive Committee Member and Chair of Inspire at Cushman & Wakefield added: “I don’t come from a traditional property background and that experience in other sectors has helped me understand how important difference and diversity is to the performance of teams and businesses. We have tried really hard to get to the heart of what needs to change and believe it is important to be transparent to effect evidence-based change. This began with going further than required on our Gender Pay Gap reporting, seeking National Equality Standard accreditation, and being the first property advisor to publish our Ethnicity Pay Gap. This D&I strategy will enable us to build on that by delivering a significant leap forward.”