Building Skills for the Future research launched

22 Jun 2020

Launched on 17 June 2020, Building Skills for the Future: A Survey of the Central London Real Estate Sector  is a major new piece of research exploring the skills needed to future-proof Central London’s real estate industry.

The research, commissioned by London Property Alliance, (supported by the CPA and WPA NextGen committees) reveals that the sector urgently needs new skills to respond to the climate emergency, the growth of digital technology and use of data, and changing user needs. It shows that real estate businesses should be recruiting more people from outside the sector to bring about much-needed cognitive diversity and ensure decisions-makers are responsive to disruptive trends.

Key findings of the ‘Building Skills for the Future’ report include:

  • In an industry-wide survey, 90% of respondents stated that the climate emergency will most impact the sector. Digital technology and use of data (85%) and changing user needs (74%) were identified as the second and third most important disruptive trends for London real estate.
  • 89% of respondents stated that property companies should be recruiting more people from outside of the sector. They should be hiring staff trained in the social sciences, product and service design, data sciences and AI (artificial intelligence).
  • Innovation, collaboration and influencing skills were identified as the top three ‘soft skills’ which companies should invest in developing, to enable the traditionally slow-moving property profession to respond to disruptive trends and economic ‘shocks’ such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • There is an urgent need to diversify the workforce to support cognitive diversity and make sure that a broader range of experiences and viewpoints are involved in real estate decisions. Only 9% of respondents to the industry survey were BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicities) compared to over 40% of the London population.


The report is sponsored by Buro FourGrosvenor Britain & IrelandHB Reavis UKLandsecMacDonald & Company and Waterman Group; and authored by research and innovation practice Future Places Studio.

Authoring the foreword, Jules Pipe CBE Deputy Mayor of London for Planning, Regeneration and Skills said:

“It is good to see the property industry recognising its weaknesses and seeking to take action on the underlying causes. I need to be clear on one point – progress is not inevitable. Despite the best intentions of many in the sector, diversity and equality will not happen on its own. Specific action is needed. I encourage every reader [of this report] to take an active role in making change happen.”

Report author Jack Sallabank commented:

“London’s real estate industry is a major contributor to the UK economy and is renowned for creating world-class buildings which capture the public imagination. However, this report finds that the sector needs to prioritise a series of new skills if it is successfully respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate emergency and the disruptive impact of new technologies.”

Executive Director of the London Property Alliance, Charles Begley added:

“Although the property industry has made great strides in trying to attract staff from more diverse backgrounds over recent years, it is clear it needs to accelerate and intensify these efforts if it’s not going to be left behind. Recruitment from a wider range of educational, gender and ethnic backgrounds is good for both business and society.”

Read the report here and our full press release here.

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Read the report