Reflections on Amanda Clack’s Inspire Session #BeTheChange

[Edited 30th July to add the video]

We were so lucky to hear from Amanda Clack, UCEM Trustee, Head of Strategic Advisory at CBRE and ex-President of RICS, on Thursday 13th June about her inspiring work in promoting inclusion and diversity in Real Estate Sector.  She has just published her second book on the subject Managing Diversity and Inclusion in Real Estate Sector . The book is a great read with fabulous illustrations by Farley Katz (of the New Yorker).

In Amanda’s session she talked about measuring the work done rather than the time workers sit in front of their bosses in the office – what she essentially said is that organisations and managers can let people work flexibly making the workers much more productive.  She also mentioned that flexibility is something so important to achieve a diverse workforce. At certain points  in your life you may have caring responsibilities; for example caring for children or caring for elderly.  You may get health issues that needs addressing. It takes such a big weight off if you allow your workers to work flexibly around their caring duties etc. The workers will be grateful for this and they are likely to be more loyal to the organisation.  Amanda mentioned that Surveying profession loses many young female professionals in 30s and 40s as they start families. But allowing flexible working the profession may be able to retain at least some of these females and possibly attract returners.

Image of Amanda Clack presenting. In the background a slide shows a female with babies trying to work on a laptop
Amanda Clack Presenting at UCEM Inspire session

Being a mum of twins, I have been really lucky to have had supportive managers at work. I remember in early 2013  one of my twins had chickenpox  and then exactly after two weeks the other one got it.  I would have had to take extended time off had my manager not allowing me to work flexibly.  At the time I was the lead facilitator for the Begin Programming MOOC and I was able to do my work remotely without any problem . Technology can help you work from  almost anywhere as long as you have good connectivity.

Recently BBC reported that Met Police recruits are now going to be allowed to get part time work option.  It is important to acknowledge that not everyone can be full time workers throughout their lives. The more flexibility you allow there is more chance of attracting a diverse workforce to your organisation.

Amanda and Tharindu posing for a photo at UCEM
Amanda and Tharindu

Another point Amanda highlighted was having various entry points to attract different groups into a profession. Not everyone wants to go to university and apprenticeships at various levels are a good route into the profession. So together having different entry points and flexibility should help the Built environment sector to  attract a more diverse workforce. But what about role models and knowledge about the sector? This is another area that needs more work.  Farley Katz  illustrates this with twin babies one wearing a hard hat  and saying “There is no such thing as starting too early”. We need to get the message out there into schools so that the Built Environment Sector can attract the best talent.

Amanda is a brilliant speaker and an inspiration to all of us. I am really glad to have organised this event and given the opportunity to UCEM colleagues to be inspired by her amazing work.

The video here is an interview hosted by Kate Lindsay  with Amanda after her talk at UCEM.