Property is “seriously lacking” in socio-economic diversity, with its workforce dominated by people who are privately educated or come from more privileged backgrounds, new research finds.

According to research which looked into social mobility in real estate, conducted by not-for-profit consultancy Bridge Group in partnership with JLL UK Foundation, 12 firms (see list, below) took part in the survey and over 150 senior leaders, mid-level employees and junior members of staff were interviewed.

Just under half (48%) of respondents identified as being from a higher socio-economic background, 15 percentage points higher than that of the general population who identify as this (33%).

A third of senior executives have been privately educated, which is higher than the proportion of MPs who attended an independent school. White employees were 40% more likely to come from a higher socio-economic background compared to Black property professionals.

One of the participating firms, which remains anonymous, was dominated by workers from more privileged backgrounds, with 71% of the workforce stating they come from a higher socio-economic background.

According to Bridge Group chief executive Nik Miller, socio-economic diversity in property is “severely lacking”.

He added that the survey results will be “very hard to ignore” for the whole sector and urged it to respond to the findings.

JLL UK Foundation chair Mark Stupples said Covid-19 also “threatens to further exacerbate existing social inequalities” as it continues to hit the market and job opportunities in the sector.

He said social mobility is therefore “more important than ever” and that the research shows “there is much work to be done”.

Firms which participated in the research:

  • CBRE
  • Colliers International
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • The Crown Estate
  • Gerald Eve LLP
  • Grosvenor Estate
  • JLL
  • Knight Frank
  • Land Securities Group plc
  • LaSalle Investment Management
  • Savills UK
  • Turley