RICS launches diversity initiative

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is launching a scheme to promote diversity among employers.

Any construction company can qualify for the RICS Inclusive Employer Quality Mark by demonstrating a commitment to recruiting and retaining employees from some kind of minority group.

Launching next month, the Inclusive Employer Quality Mark requires employers to commit to six principles:

•Leadership and Vision – commitment to increasing the diversity of the workforce

•Recruitment – engage and attract new people to the industry from under-represented groups; best practice recruitment methods

•Staff development– training/promotion policies that offer equal opportunities for career progression

•Staff retention – flexible working arrangements/adaptive working practices

•Staff engagement – an inclusive culture where all staff engage with developing, delivering, monitoring and assessing the diversity and inclusivity policies

•Continuous improvement – continually refreshing and renewing the firm’s commitment to being the best employer; sharing and learning from best practice across the industry.

Signatories will simply be required every six months to assess the actions they are taking and the outcomes achieved. RICS will use these assessment forms to document the trends for the profession as a whole.

There will be no independent auditing. The quality mark is a badge of aspiration rather than achievement.

Once a firm becomes a signatory they gain access to details about how they are performing (according to RICS standards) across all six principles in comparison with their peers, as well as a spread of support, ideas and case studies from high performers to help drive up improvements for all.

RICS president Louise Brooke-Smith said that the scheme “marks the step change that the profession needs”. She said: “This initiative has been discussed with, and has the support and encouragement of, a number of leading firms – both large and small – across the land and property sector.

“Employee needs are changing, along with their expectations and demographic make-up. The competitive war for talent has also shifted the focus to attracting and retaining talent in the industry. Only by doing so, can we deliver a sustainable future. By committing to the quality mark, firms will gain a competitive advantage. An inclusive approach allows organisations to reflect and engage with their clients more effectively and efficiently.”

RICS external affairs director Kim Worts added: “The quality mark will put RICS at the heart of the profession, leading on rewarding and sharing best practice, and recognising and promoting the work of firms – whatever their size – who are striving towards creating an inclusive workforce. An inclusive workforce is a competitive workforce, mirroring both their clients and the community. Real change will not happen overnight, but we want firms to commit to the journey with us.”

To coincide with the launch of the initiative, RICS is holding a conference on the theme of diversity and inclusion on 25th June in London. Further details can be found at: www.rics.org/diversityconference