The estate agency industry must do more to encourage social mobility within the sector and help talented people from more humble backgrounds be given the opportunity to shine, says Foxtons’ COO.
The comments were made by Patrick Franco (pictured) during an interview to be published in full within the July issue of The Negotiator print magazine.
As well as setting out the estate agency’s approach on inclusion across race, gender and disability, Franco says his company is pushing hard to champion social mobility.
“If you recruit people from all walks of life and not just your mates from university or whatever then everyone moves up which is arguably the most effective form of inclusivity,” he says.
“It also very measurable and easy to navigate; you can ask objective questions of people about where they come from socio-economically without them feeling insulted.
“People’s CVs also show this clearly – for example which school they went to, where they were brought up or whether they went to university or not.”
Franco says most companies within the sector are ‘not there’ on social mobility and have yet to change their recruitment practices in a way that’s meaningfully driving progress.
Foxtons says it is reaping the benefits of partnership with charity Career Ready including that half of its agents now come from a non-university background.
The thinking behind this is that good sales people have natural life skills that are impossible to teach in an academic environment.
“Until the government has more aggressive policies around social mobility – for example mandating companies to report on the issue like they do gender – it’s going to be slow going to change this. I hope the government wakes up to this on the back of the pandemic,” says Franco.