RICS: ‘Built environment has never faced such incredible challenges’

The challenges facing the real estate industry and built environment have never been so great nor have they been so high on the political agenda, Sean Tompkins, CEO of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), told PropertyEU at Mipim.

With the world population forecast to grow to around 10 billion by 2050, two-thirds of which will be living in cities, the pressure on the built environment will be huge, Tompkins said.

‘The built environment really has a responsibility to provide all those people with homes, to ensure we have the necessary infrastructure, to ensure that our cities are connected with the technology they need so that future generations can really prosper,’ he noted.

Tompkins highlighted diversity and inclusion in the workforce as another key challenge facing the industry. On Wednesday, RICS launched a book entitled ‘Managing Diversity and Inclusion in the Real Estate Sector’, authored by Judith Gabler, RICS managing director for Europe and former RICS president Amanda Clack FRICS.  

‘The whole area of diversity and inclusion is critical because given the changes that are taking place in the built environment we need new skills and new talent to come into the profession and the industry to be able to bring new thinking and innovation,’ Tompkins said. He added: ‘As leaders we need to ensure that our businesses have the culture and the environment to bring in greater diversity to create a more inclusive workplace – that is going to be absolutely essential to get in the talent to help solve world issues.’

RICS itself has conducted a consultation process with members and industry stakeholders called Future of the Profession which looked at a wide range of issues including diversity and future skills needs.

Tompkins: ‘We need to ensure that as a professional body our training systems are appropriate and also that the standards we’re going to set in the industry are appropriate for the future – particularly in areas like data analytics where there are going to be issues around privacy.’

Click here to listen to the full interview with Sean Tompkins (VIDEO)