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How we're painting a clearer picture on diversity in real estate

Blog Posts  (7)

Article posted by Megan Bond on Sep 23, 2022

Data is arguably the most important element in our quest for equal representation. Approaching ED&I without data is like planning a trip without a map. Cobalt has endeavoured to gather diversity information in a way that gives freedom to every person to tell their story. We were determined not to put a limit on the data options, which can make people feel like they are being categorised. Instead, we’ve tried to create a survey that lets everyone be seen. 

When we first started gathering diversity monitoring data at Cobalt years ago, it was very manual –paper forms given to our candidates to fill out when they came to meet with us. But with our newly launched online survey, we’ve opened up responses to more of our candidates as we aim to capture information about every candidate we interact with.

The data we collect allows us to paint a picture of who our candidates are – or more importantly who they are not. We want to know which people we’re not working with so we can address the gaps, understand why we haven’t been attracting the range of candidates we should, and make a plan to fix that. 


When researching what to include, we noticed a lot of other diversity capturing surveys ended up grouping together large swathes of people in ‘other’ categories. ‘Othering’ inherently becomes the opposite of inclusive, and makes those people feel like they are different. 

We also found these surveys were written from a white-centric perspective, for example, mixed race ethnicity options were always ‘White +’something(e.g. Asian or Black Caribbean)’. 

It was very important that we didn’t categorise in this way. Not only is it a harmful narrative that reinforces a white perspective in assuming all mixed races must be part white, but it also didn’t allow for people who identify as more than two ethnicities to be properly included.

Our Survey-

In our survey, many of our questions have dynamic follow-up options, including the ethnicity one which allows you to narrow down to the most accurate option for yourself or to tell us what that is in a text box. Giving space to tell us as opposed to us giving people set options helps to continually improve the survey over time through feedback. 


Feedback is crucial for us to continue learning and understanding, so at the end of the survey we give space for people to tell us what they think we could improve within the survey.

We know that DE&I within the property sector is important to our candidates through the feedback we have received, with 52% already telling us they want to hear more about the results and other findings of our survey.

Ultimately, this survey is about everyone! Every aspect behind the questions we ask are the elements that create different people, different life experiences and different understandings of the world. And it’s this intersectionality that gives us a unique lens to view the world through, which makes up a diverse workforce. 

If you receive the survey then please do add your voice, only with your help can we collectively make a difference to diversity and inclusion in the property industry. 

In light of our own data gathering, we are happy to be supporting Real Estate Balance – an organisation we’re proud to be a member of – who have recently launched its 2023 Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) survey – the most comprehensive study on EDI in the industry.

 The survey is about individual experiences of people working in property and answers are sought from a diverse range of people at all grades right across the industry. The survey is completely anonymous, takes 5 – 10 minutes to complete and can be accessed here.