Reaping the Benefits of Balance in Australian Real Estate

James Patterson • 06/03/2019
There is really no debate about whether a gender balanced organisation is something we should strive for. It has to be part of the fabric of our industry and our community. I am passionate about ensuring that we at Cushman & Wakefield achieve gender balance at all levels of the organisation.
42% of my executive leadership team are women, that is something that I am extremely proud of. 41% of our total employee population are women. We have work to do in the senior manager cohort to move our female representation to at least 40% in the next two years.

The benefit that balance in an organisation brings is no longer a point of debate. Gender diverse companies are 21% more likely to outperform on profitability, ethnically diverse companies are 33% likely to outperform and companies with a broad diversity agenda are 45% likely to outperform those that don’t.

Creating a gender balanced organisation means we need to put in building blocks to support women advance to their potential. This might include flexible working arrangements, part-time work, tailored training, recruitment, and retention strategies. Part-time working mothers contribute so much value to an organisation. But flexibility isn’t just for mothers, it is for everyone. It is for people managing ageing parents, caring responsibilities, those involved in charitable activities, sporting interests, and passions outside the workplace so that people can bring their whole self to work.

On the issue of gender diversity, I believe that the female talent pool in our industry is too small. There are not enough female university graduates coming into the market, we need to reach out to young women in the latter part of high school and show them they can be part of a great industry. An industry where they can help shape and create the way people will work in the future, the way people will interact with the built environment, the future of cities, and the future of infrastructure.

I also believe that as an industry we need to think of diversity and inclusion more broadly than just gender. Many different community groups experience exclusion and social isolation such as the elderly, the less mobile, those with hearing impairment, visual impairment, mental health conditions, intellectual disability, the economically disadvantaged, those on the autism spectrum, and children with special needs. Added to this are those who suffer exclusion based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and political views.

At Cushman & Wakefield we currently have five staff members employed through job support who place, train, and support individuals with intellectual disability. In 2018 we built the first inclusive play experience on the footprint of Vivid Sydney designed to allow all children, including those with a disability, to play, participate and belong in the magic of the southern hemisphere’s largest festival of light.

This International Women’s Day we celebrate what we have achieved where we have come from, but also recognise that we still have a way to go as an industry.

To find out more about Cushman & Wakefield’s activities across Asia Pacific this International Women’s Day, check out our dedicated page here.

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