Jamie Ratcliff

Diversity in recruitment

03 October 2016

Jamie Ratcliff is City Hall’s Assistant Director of Housing. He talks about his efforts to recruit new staff members who reflect the diversity of London…

I believe London’s diversity is its greatest strength.  Here at City Hall, it means we need to recruit people who think differently and approach issues in fresh ways. It’s the only way we can succeed. This means we need to become an organisation with much greater balance, at all levels. I’m talking in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability and social background.

If a wide range of people agree on something, it’s more likely to be the best course of action. If they don’t, the process of disagreement means it can be tested thoroughly. This process of ‘creative conflict’ should be positive and constructive, not adversarial. It should allow for greater innovation and better working together.

When I next recruit for my team, I’ll work extra hard to make the shortlist as diverse as it can be. My plan is to reach out to people beyond my usual networks and emphasise the importance of diversity. I will also ensure the recruitment panel is diverse. That’s really important when it comes to getting a broad and balanced view of potential recruits.

In the longer-term, I want to support diversity in the property industry more widely. That’s why I’m helping to champion Future of London’s speaker diversity pledge.

It’s a public commitment by organisations and individuals to improve diversity at property sector events. 

The aim is to ensure discussions at these events better reflect the people who provide and use London’s services. It’s also an opportunity to introduce new voices and ideas, which will make for more interesting events. I hope it will encourage more people from different backgrounds to move into the industry. I believe, ultimately, that would help make it more successful.

I’m also encouraging my colleagues and external contacts to show their commitment to supporting diversity by signing up. You can find out how to sign up and more about the pledge on Future of London’s website.

The pledge means committing to at least two of the following:

  • Hold public-facing events which include under-represented groups as speakers (by gender, ethnicity, ability, age, etc)
  • Put forward speakers from these groups to represent their organisation, including at senior levels and across disciplines
  • Encourage organisations they work with to host diverse events
  • Avoid taking part in sessions which feature only one demographic group
  • As a speaker/chair, join the Future of London Diversity Speakers’ Network, to help increase the pool of voices

While this pledge is focused on the property sector, it’s open to all to sign. There's also a cross-sector pledge on gender diversity on speaking panels, started by development economist Owen Barder.

Find out more about City Hall’s commitment to diversity.