Taking action to drive greater gender inclusivity

JLL is commited to becoming one the most inclusive organisations in real estate and championing reforms across the entire industry.

September 06, 2022

What kind of business do we want to be? This is a question that has been asked consistently by the JLL NZ leadership team in recent years. It’s also one that has taken new meaning in 2022. The Covid-19 pandemic saw kitchen tables become desks and meetings move online, while health and wellbeing took centre stage. 

After experiencing lockdowns across the country, we’ve returned to our offices nationwide and, in doing so, found a renewed vigour to tackle barriers to productivity, diversity and inclusivity.

Thinking about gender

For many people, the pandemic brought home the reality of needing to balance home and work lives. The traditional separation between the two became increasingly blurred and the importance of equality found even greater resonance. “We returned to the office wanting to ensure that it was absolutely the best possible place for everyone,” begins Danielle Eagle, Senior HR Advisor at JLL.

The first question-mark in the firm’s sight was the gender pay gap. Jonathan Manns, Senior Director and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Lead at JLL NZ asserts: “It is unconscionable that men and women continue to earn unequally in 21st century New Zealand. Clarifying the matter of pay was the first step of many that put gender firmly on the table, enabling conversations we weren’t having before.”

Not only did JLL NZ want to be confident that staff were being remunerated fairly (they were for ‘like for like’ roles), we also wanted to be accountable for it. As a result, we joined the ‘Mind the Gap’ campaign for equal pay reporting and published our first Gender Pay Gap (GPG) report in March 2022. We became the first real estate business in New Zealand to voluntarily disclose our pay metrics and will continue to do so every single year.

The good news was that all ‘like for like’ roles are remunerated fairly, transparently, and equitably. JLL NZ has both pay equality and pay equity. 

However, reflecting wider structural issues in the property industry, the research also revealed a ‘power gap’ at the top levels of the business, particularly in transactional and fee-earning roles. Managing Director Todd Lauchlan says “it was impossible not to act”. 

The journey ahead

The GPG report crystalised thinking and catalysed enthusiasm across the firm for tackling the ‘power gap’ both within and beyond the organisation. An internal DEI network launched in April and the business has since taken bold steps to become a leader within the industry.

The first move was to appoint an external advisor, who has worked internationally with organisations from the United Nations to Coca-Cola, helping them create healthy, diverse and inclusive workplaces. “This gave us the expertise to help guide our firepower,” explains Eagle.

That firepower has proven considerable. The business has partnered wherever possible with the Property Council of New Zealand (PCNZ) in its campaigns for greater representation. 

All speaker and leadership programmes target PCNZ’s 40:40:20 gender split and opportunities for new initiatives—which raise awareness of women in the profession—are being actively explored. Manns has also been appointed as a representative to the council’s national DEI Committee.

Staff have taken a lead within JLL at a global level. Teams are now collaborating across Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) to deliver ‘Lunch and Learn’ leadership sessions for women within the organisation and expanding a ‘Bright Ambitions’ outreach programme to girls and young women at schools and universities. There’s also support being given to the Global Executive Board on a new, company-wide DEI strategy, led by the recently appointed Global Head of DEI, Nashunda Williams.

It’s ‘all go’ internally too, with a focus on seizing opportunities in the workplace. JLL NZ has committed to unconscious bias and inclusive leadership training for all its staff. To match its new office spaces nationwide, the firm is pursuing GenderTick and Breastfeeding Friendly Spaces accreditation. Most significantly, though, the firm has redoubled its efforts to attract and retain the best talent.

JLL NZ has publicised its commitment to flexible remuneration structures and has appointed executive head-hunters to recruit leading women directly into senior and board-level roles. “We want to grow around the very best people,” says Lauchlan. “Part of this means offering maximum flexibility when it comes to remuneration - whether that’s salaries, retainers or commission-based models. It’s much more important to give talented people what they need to focus on to deliver the best results for our clients.”

A problem shared is a problem halved

“Diversity is directly correlated to business performance,” says Manns. “We’ve made plenty of progress this year, but we’re only just beginning.” 

JLL NZ is on a mission not only to be the most inclusive organisation possible, but to champion reforms across the industry. Whether that’s through remuneration and workplace accreditation, recruitment and representation, outreach and collaboration, or representation and accountability - this is about leadership that results in real progress.