Editor's letter June

Working on the Rising Stars of European Real Estate is probably the most enjoyable task of the annual calendar, writes editor-in-chief Robin Marriott.  

Pale, male and stale? No, this is not the latest insult from my wife. This is about how the real estate industry is really trying to address diversity issues. Do not get me wrong, there is plenty to be achieved in this area, but the signs are looking better thanks to a concerted effort by those in charge.

As you will discover from our Special Report, the next generation of super stars are coming through from a wide array of places, there is a respectable gender split, and we are seeing people of different colours. This is absolutely going to lead to a much better industry, and success will breed success.

Working on the Rising Stars of European Real Estate is probably the most enjoyable task of the annual calendar for me. I love hearing the personal stories of those who have entered the industry and are getting recognised. It’s a people thing, and this is a very social sector, but one that has been dominated by white males, let’s be honest. Over time, this is going to change. It already is and it has to.

My thanks to those who nominated young professionals in the industry and also thanks to the people themselves who worked with me on this feature. Also, my regards to the ULI and Hines, who recently organised a student competition. My colleague Dominic Gover spoke with the winning students as well as Lisette van Doorn of the ULI and Brian Moran of Hines to find out more.

Van Doorn says: ‘I think recruiting people who haven’t been involved in property before is an opportunity to add diversity. We also need to think harder about ways to speed up this process because we cannot wait another 20 years for these efforts to percolate up the ranks. It takes too long. The good news is that awareness has grown.’

Besides diversity, there is another pressing issue for young professionals right now which knows no gender or race barriers: lockdowns. Yoko Yamada, 33, a second year MBA student, says: ‘Some people like to work from home, but for younger colleagues it’s not good because you don’t learn how to work together, or interact with senior members of staff and just how to be in a professional environment.’

Says Beatriz Marcal Vala, 23, who is studying for a Masters in Financial Analysis: ‘I’m looking forward to going back to the office. I started working in 2019, so I had five months there and that was it. It’s impossible to simulate the meetings or interactions while working from home. So, returning to work is very important to me.’ Let’s hope a full lifting of lockdowns across Europe is imminent.

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