The ongoing challenge in creating and ensuring a diverse and inclusive regeneration sector

Rebecca Rampat, McLean Public’s Lead for Place and Sustainability outlines why she is optimistic

The regeneration, property and real estate sector plays a crucial role in bringing communities together, driving economic growth, and establishing sustainable urban environments across the UK. However, the lack of diversity in leadership roles, however, remains a huge challenge across the regeneration sector.

It has long been recognised that leadership teams who embody diversity bring forth a range of perspectives and experiences crucial for making informed and inclusive decisions around the senior leadership table. To achieve this organisations must prioritise dismantling the barriers and establishing pathways for underrepresented individuals to develop into leadership positions. Furthermore the lack of collaboration between regeneration organisations, investors, local governments, and community groups can hinder progress and creative thinking. Building robust partnerships and fostering collaboration are vital for creating and delivering on comprehensive and inclusive regeneration ambitions.

Recently, the regeneration sector has made great strides embracing diversity as it continues to expand and invest in the sector’s future, and in doing so enhancing innovation, creativity, and community impact. As the regeneration sector embraces these opportunities, it positions itself for a future marked by inclusive excellence and transformative community development. By nurturing an inclusive culture, championing diverse leadership, employing strategic recruitment strategies, investing in education and training, providing flexible work arrangements, showcasing impactful projects, and supporting networking and mentorship initiatives, the sector can cultivate an environment that not only draws in diverse talent but also nurtures growth and success as well as serving as a example for other sectors.

As a result, we McLean Public remain optimistic that greater diverse representation in the UK’s regeneration, property and real estate sectors will be realised, though the speed at which it will be achieved depends partly on how much organisations commit to more rigorous (and often challenging) methods of recruiting their leaders. Our commitment and particular approach has given us a unique perspective on which methods work and which are less effective. By widening our net of candidates, we have developed connections to a deeper and more varied network of senior diverse individuals. Meanwhile, our position as trusted advisors, rather than recruiters, means we have the market intelligence to spot the best candidates in non-traditional pools of talent. Together, those factors are producing our growing track record, which means our clients take our shortlists seriously. That runs both ways – candidates, too, know we take their candidacy seriously. We will not put candidates forward unless they are right for the role, which builds trust on all sides.

There are other factors worth considering, too. Coaching candidates can go a long way. Though it’s changing, interviewees are still too often judged against interpersonal skills honed at public schools and Oxbridge universities, which don’t always correlate with success in a given position. Plus, it remains important that employers in the sector continue tackling bias in recruitment processes – and we are not just talking about unconscious bias, as is often the focus. There remain problematic attitudes to age and life choices, or outdated attitudes to education that require challenging head on. At McLean Public we seek to be meticulous about the wording of job descriptions, for example, which are often soaked in subtle – and at times not so subtle – gender bias.

The regeneration sector is moving in the right direction for diversity and inclusion, but without more work to get beyond the ‘usual suspects’, the step change everyone is hoping for simply won’t happen as quickly as we would all like.

If you’re struggling to diversify your organisation’s workforce, please get in touch as this is something McLean Public can support you with.

Rebecca Rampat

Associate Partner



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