Challenges for diversity and inclusion in Europe’s real estate

Europe’s real estate industry had made much progress on diversity and inclusion but there’s still a long way to go, Lonneke Löwik, CEO, INREV, told Real Asset Media’s Richard Betts.

INREV recently published a new report on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), using data from a joint global survey undertaken by seven leading industry associations together with Ferguson Partners and interviews with leading DEI professionals, senior fund managers and CEOs and leading HR practitioners.

“We know the topic has become a lot more important among our members and we wanted to know the facts, where we are at”, Löwik said.

Gathering data proved to be a challenge in Europe, as legal restrictions hampers the collection of demographic data.

“Because of GDPR in Europe we are simply not allowed to collect some of the data and facts that we can collect in the US and Asia”, she said. “That is a bit of a problem and something that we need to work on. We always say that if something doesn’t get measured then it doesn’t get fixed. I know there are very good reasons why GDPR is there, but it is limiting us”.

Another challenge is the diversity of the market in Europe as conditions vary so much from country to country.

“We are such a diverse market”, Löwik said. “You can’t really compare what’s happening in the Netherlands with Germany or the Nordics or the UK or Southern Europe”.

The results confirm that Europe is still lagging behind. “From a European perspective I was unpleasantly surprised by the lower rate of female senior participation in the industry compared to the US and Asia”, she said. “On a junior level it’s 50/50 now among young professionals, but it’s still a negative to lose that female talent at a more senior level”.

INREV is launching a new survey on DEI in a few weeks’ time and hopes to release the update in December.

Click on the video to watch the full interview or listen to the podcast below.