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More than 1.4 million Australians from a broad range of backgrounds, work in the property industry, more than mining and manufacturing combined, making it Australia’s largest employer.
In recent years, the Property Council of Australia (PCA), the peak industry body, has played a key role in promoting diversity within the industry.
As a leading property investment and funds management company we have embraced their initiatives such as 500 Women in Property, Girls in Property and Property Male Champions of Change (PMCC).
We are passionate about building an inclusive corporate culture that embraces diversity. It’s not just the right thing to do, we believe it gives us a powerful competitive advantage, because teams composed of people of different backgrounds, experiences and working styles are better able to solve complex problems by providing unique viewpoints and innovative solutions.
More than half of our team are women, and we work hard to foster a workplace where all our people have the right to be proud of who they are, and know that they can bring their ‘whole and best self’ to work regardless of gender, cultural heritage, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Andrew Borger, who is leading the charge as our PMCC Implementation Lead, says our activity-based way of working has been fundamental to empowering women within our company, because it gives people the freedom to choose how to integrate work with the rest of their lives.
“Technology is changing both the work we do, and the way we do it,’’ says Andrew. “This has enabled our agile work culture, which means our people can take time away from work as and when they need for family, health or other personal reasons.’’
It is important that we never stop building on our achievements, and we continuously monitor how we are performing as an employer. So we provide online, real-time diversity reporting for management, and we publish our annual gender targets and conduct regular pay equity reviews to identify and address gender pay gaps.
We have programs in place to build our internal talent pipeline of women, and sponsor the transition of female talent into revenue-facing and client-facing roles.
We undertake focus groups to obtain a deeper understanding the experience of both men and women within our company, and we enhance awareness of the impact of exclusion and counteract it with unconscious bias training.
To ensure that we are spreading the message to others, we include diversity in our investors’ and results presentations, and we have committed to a panel pledge whereby we will not participate in an industry or broader market panel unless there is a woman involved.
We also consciously choose business partners who share our values, says Andrew.
“For example we've recently appointed listing agents on our 555 Collins Street office tower,’’ he says. “One of the key criteria for us was that the preferred agencies, JLL and Colliers, provided us with a diverse offering in terms of their leasing teams, with both women and men included, and also giving us a great cross-section on age.
“This way, we know we’re going to gain multiple marketing insights and appeal to multiple markets. And we believe this strategy is going to fast-track a greater involvement of women in commercial leasing at a more senior level, by bringing them on board at the beginning of a project which can last several years.’’
Andrew, who is a member of the PCA’s Diversity Committee, says great strides have been made in ensuring gender inequality is a priority within the property industry, and it is now time to also focus more attention on other potentially marginalised groups within the workforce.
“Widening our inclusion lens is the next chapter,’’ he says. “I think the industry and Charter Hall over the medium term have done a good job of improving gender diversity, now we need to focus on inclusion, across all demonstrations of diversity, e.g. age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and sexual identity.
“On diversity and inclusion we want to be a leader, not a follower. It’s what our people, our customers and our investors expect of us.’’