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'Diversity and Inclusion in the Planning Profession Survey' Report and Roundtable Conference


The BAME Planners Network yesterday announced the findings of the nationwide 'Diversity and Inclusion in the Planning Profession Survey' at an invite-only roundtable conference in London with over 60 influential industry leaders across from the built environment, Civil Service, Local Authorities, as well as private practice including national planning consultancies, attend. The event also marked the third anniversary of the Network.


The Network with other diversity and inclusion networks including Women in Planning, Planning Out and Neurodiversity in Planning presented “The State of Diversity and Inclusion within the Planning Profession” from their respective interest group perspective. This was the first time that the four diversity networks jointly took part in an event.


Councillor Geoff Barraclough, Westminster City Council (WCC) Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development gave a speech welcoming participants to the events. Susan Bridge RTPI President and Sue Manns MBE (past RTPI President) gave goodwill messages. Following the goodwill messages, the Network presented the Headline report which was discussed during the roundtable discussions. Participants' attendance and discussion during the session was immense and contributed to the success of the conference.


A Panel comprising Victoria Hills MRTPI, RTPI Chief Executive, Stuart Love, Westminster City Council Chief Executive, Rob Krzyszowski MRTPI, Assistant Director, Planning, Building Standards and Sustainability and Ransford Stewart MBE MRTPI, Steering Group Member of the Network discussed feedback from the roundtable discussions including actions to make the planning profession more diverse and inclusive. One of the highlights was hearing Stuart Love share his passion for diversity and inclusion including the various initiatives embarked upon by WCC.

In 2021, the Network conducted an industry-wide survey, the first of its kind, with the aim of obtaining an evidence base of the state of diversity and inclusion within the planning profession. The survey consisted of two parts: an employee survey and an employer survey. It provided an opportunity for all planners to provide a picture of how diversity and inclusion issues are perceived within the industry.


An overwhelming two-thirds of employee respondents felt that they did not have a diverse workforce and that the level of diversity in their workforce was not reflective of the community the organisation is based. There were significant income gaps among ethnic groups with a postgraduate degree and more than 10 years of experience. The average reported salaries of Black/African/Caribbean/Black British respondents and Asian and Asian British respondents were £3,900 and £9,000 less respectively than that of their White respondents with the same level of education qualification and experience. Overall, 24% of BAME respondents felt undervalued and underpaid. 39.8% of BAME respondents in entry / mid-level positions intended to leave their current jobs which is higher than those of the White respondents in the same position.


‘The findings paint an alarming picture especially considering the shortage of planning professionals. We are hopeful that this evidence base would serve as a wake-up call for the industry and accelerate the collective effort to advance diversity and inclusion in the planning profession" said Helen Fadipe, the Founder of the BAME Planners Network. "We are dedicated to working with partners across the industry to foster an environment where every planner, regardless of their background, can thrive and serve the community their organisation is based."


The Network is immensely grateful to Westminster City Council and the RTPI for sponsoring the roundtable conference. The Network would also like to thank everyone who participated in the survey. The Headline and full report are available on the Network website. The Network would continue collaborating with partners to effect positive changes and encourage like-minded organisations to contact us for future collaboration.


The Headline Report and Full Report are now available.


The event photos can be downloaded directly here.




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