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News & opinion

7 MAR. 2019

Kinga Barchon MRICS: Having diverse talent is the right thing to do

On the occasion of the International Women's Day we talked to Kinga Barchoń MRICS, member of the RICS Board in Poland, PwC Partner, about diversity in the workplace and the role of women in the property sector.

"I work in the professional services industry, so our only asset is our people. The war for talent is becoming more rigorous, with increasing number of challenges starting from millennials entering and reshaping the workforce, through low representation of women in managerial and leadership positions, ageing workforce and talent pool until the right talent for expansion into new markets. Therefore, shaping talent strategies to include different talent pools are key for any business to succeed. At PwC, diversity and inclusiveness are huge priorities. Diverse talent allows innovation, growth and competitive advantage in the marketplace. In addition to that, I personally believe that having diverse talent is something more than just imperative to the future success of a business – it is also a right thing to do.”

Have women any incentive to become property professionals in Poland?

Lack of female chief executives to the predominance of men on corporate boards is a fact across all businesses but it is particularly visible in the property business. Look at the predominance of conference panels consisting of men at all property conferences! However, study after study shows that gender balanced boards are good for business. They improve sales revenue and profit margins. Therefore, the main incentive for a woman in a property business is the possibility to create better outcomes for our clients, our people and our communities. It is proven that diverse teams are better placed to serve similar group of customers, and having women in the professional services and at clients’ usually means better communication.

What is the added value that a woman can bring to the property profession?

Currently, less than 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are female. Addressing low representation of women in managerial and leadership position is a key for businesses as there is little doubt that the gender balanced boards are more successful. Why? Presence of women in a group helps the team to cohere due to women’s social sensitivity, vital listening and bridge building skills. Women are more likely to collaborate than man. It is proven that they are better than men in relationship building, facilitation and empowering others. It results in better productivity and organisational effectiveness. Women drive business models to be more responsive and customer driven. It is relevant for property profession and for many others.

What sort of practices are firms in Poland adopting to attract a more diverse workforce?

We recognised already a long time ago that if we are to solve important problems for our clients and communities we need different talent. Already 12 years ago the PwC network of firms first began to focus on a globally consistent approach to diversity as a business imperative. However, the journey did not finish. In each country there are different initiatives dependent on the market and local needs. I will mention below a few for Poland. Before that, I would like to stress the importance of internal culture - valuing differences and inclusion - at PwC we bring individuals of all backgrounds, life experiences, preferences and beliefs together. We recognise that every single one of us is different - because of how we look, how we think, how we speak, how we act, or where we come from. And these differences are our assets.

Personally, I believe that more system solutions would be needed to make a gender parity a real thing. These would include removing tax disincentives for secondary earners, providing high quality childcare and supporting parental leave.

Kinga Barchoń MRICS
Kinga Barchon MRICS

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Diversity initiatives at PwC

  • Flex@PwC is a programme to give our people flexibility in how they manage work and private responsibilities. It includes working arrangements like working from home, flexible work hours in which employees have some choice in the pattern of daily work, or reduced hours, in which they can chose to work less than full-time. Employees can also take one - four months of unpaid time off over and above the annual vacation, and receive a part of their pay while they’re away. Offered in line with business needs, this option is particularly popular with parents and millennial employees.

  • Aspire to lead programme demonstrates our commitment to female advancement and gender equality, while simultaneously providing students worldwide – who are about to start their careers – with the knowledge and skills they need to help them anticipate and overcome any potential personal, societal or organizational barriers they may face on the road ahead. Each event brings together a panel of expert speakers who engage in a robust conversation on a chosen critical theme.

  • PwC without barriers is a programme dedicated especially to students with disabilities. It includes dedicated three months internships, external workshops for students with disabilities about labour market, internal awareness workshop for employees about cooperation with people with disabilities, cooperation with external NGO's.