Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative 2023


Real Estate Diversity & Inclusion, Meta & JLL

Sponsored by: Thomson FM

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative 2023

JLL and Meta’s real estate division, in partnership with Springpod, created REDI – Real Estate Diversity & Inclusion. The aim was to empower people and communities to create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable society.

A key component of REDI is providing female and ethnically underrepresented students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to learn about real estate and career opportunities across the sector.

The pilot programme, which offers virtual, interactive, project-based work experience, has been a success in the UK, and will now be rolled out globally.

Results gleaned

  • 687 students enrolled in the first year (the target initially was set at 1,000 enrolments over the first three years);
  • 61% of students were female;
  • 69% of students were from ethnic groups that are underrepresented in real estate;
  • 31% of students reported that they were eligible for free school meals;
  • 79% of students felt they understood real estate “very well” – up from 4% at the start of the programme;
  • 133% increase in the number of students who felt “very confident” they could go on to enjoy a career in the sector; and
  • 5 hours average engagement per student and 1,050 hours completed overall.

The course helped the students:

  • Increase confidence in their problem-solving abilities;
  • Enhance awareness of the importance of sustainability;
  • Intensify their desire to contribute positively to their communities; and
  • Learn about real estate and gain confidence in finding a job in the industry.

Best practice learning

JLL and Meta, through their individual DEI-focused governance groups, set ambitious targets to increase female and ethnically underrepresented colleagues at their organisations.

The two organisations built relationships with external partners that promote DEI outside of the sector and took a long-term view to delivering change. Recruitment processes to attract and retain young talent from diverse backgrounds would be key, focusing on young women and those from ethnically underrepresented and lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

The programme was delivered in relevant and accessible modules, combining written, interactive, and video content. Key to its success was flexibility and interactivity. Quizzes, activity-based learning and special projects prioritise interactivity are key, as is on-demand rather than timetabled content for improved flexibility and inclusivity. Those who could not attend scheduled webinars were able to access alternative resources.

Examples of the modules covered include:

  • Designing an inclusive “workspace of the future” inside Minecraft, incorporating Pride inspired-coloured blocks, wheelchair lifts and a swimming pool for wellbeing; and
  • RED Talks featuring relatable, aspirational industry figures to share stories of their experiences and challenges.

Key quotes

  • “This isn’t just about JLL. It isn’t about Meta. It’s about how we can make real estate accessible to talented, diverse groups of people,” says Daniel Hawkins, Meta account director at JLL.
  • “REDI is about getting students – the workers of the future – interested in real estate, period. It’s focused on educating them, getting them excited, making sure they know it’s an option, that there are careers there for them that they can choose to pursue. Yes, its core focus is on promoting gender and ethnic diversity within real estate, but it’s also promoting it for neurodiverse people, for LGBTQI+ people… for all young people,” says Daniel Hawkins, Meta account director at JLL.