DE&I Survey insights into Build to Rent industry

Latest DE&I Survey from the UKAA, the NAA in the US, and Swift Bunny reveals new insights into the Build to Rent industry.

Swift Bunny and UKAA findings of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Build to Rent industry | BTR News

The latest Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Survey from the UKAA (the UK Apartment Association), the NAA (National Apartment Association) in the US, and Swift Bunny has revealed new insights into diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) across the UK Build to Rent industry.

An initial survey in spring 2022 provided a benchmarking snapshot. This expanded follow-up survey, conducted in autumn 2022, examines Build to Rent DE&I issues nationally and in greater depth. The results were announced via a webinar on 26th January 2023, as part of UKAA’s series of webinars designed to support the operation and growth of the UK Build to Rent industry.

The latest Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Survey examined 15 areas of DE&I within the sector. It identified differences in perception between employees and executives, as well as correlations.

“Taking a robust stance on DE&I matters can ensure that Build to Rent providers are aligned with investment clients’ priorities and can reduce staff turnover. A strong DE&I program brings financial and operational benefits that extend both to the business and its customers. The findings of this latest survey will be crucial to understanding and enhancing DE&I within the industry.”

Brendan Geraghty, CEO, UKAA

One key finding from the survey is that 58% of employees, along with an equal proportion of executives, feel that Build to Rent employees represent the population of the communities in which they work. However, 38% of employees and 36% of executives feel that their company’s leadership team represents those same communities. Employee suggestions around improving this situation presented a common theme. They want to see a greater variety of demographics represented in company leadership as a result of internal talent development and promotion.

The survey also found that 67% of employees and 63% of executives viewed this area of work as important. However, just 44% of executives agree that their companies are working to increase diverse representation at a non-management level, while 40% believe that work is underway to increase it at management and executive levels. 77% of employees and the same proportion of executives agree that their supervisors create inclusive working environments.

The survey also revealed a difference in perception between employees’ and executives’ opinions on how committed their companies are to DE&I. The average executive agreement exceeded the average employee agreement by .51 points, indicating a significant misalignment of perceptions. The average employee agreement had also dropped .48 points since the spring 2022 survey, indicating growing disagreement that companies are committed to DE&I. This highlights the importance of leadership teams reinforcing their commitment to it and doing so through active and visible conversations and initiatives that deliver positive change.

The survey also found that 61% of Build to Rent employees agree that their company provides professional development opportunities for all employees, while 81% of executives agree. Perceptions also diverge on matters regarding equity in pay and the promotion of job opportunities.

One area of opportunity identified relates to internal communication processes. 12% of employees and 13% of executives indicated that employees feel afraid to report DE&I concerns to their company, and a further 23% of employees and 22% of executives were hesitant about expressing a view on the matter.

“DE&I remain priorities for UKAA in 2023, as they are so intrinsic to the growth and success of the UK Build to Rent industry. Only by embracing diversity across our teams and in our leadership roles can we enhance performance across the industry.

“The results of the autumn 2022 UKAA/Swift Bunny Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Survey provide a growing understanding of DE&I practices within the Build to Rent industry, which will help to inform everything from recruitment to organisational policy in the future.”

Brendan Geraghty, CEO, UKAA