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Taylor Wessing has launched a network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people working in the property industry.
The City firm claims the circle, which is still searching for a name, is the first such association in the real estate industry.
It launched earlier this month with an event at Taylor Wessing’s offices for nearly 80 LGBT professionals, including real estate lawyers, surveyors, and architects.
The firm plans to run regular events, with the next one set for November. LGBT charity Stonewall has offered to help launch the programme, which was set up together with property consultancy Tuffin Ferraby Taylor.
“Workplace equality in the property sector lags behind most other sectors,” said Taylor Wessing real estate partner Saleem Fazal, who has been involved in setting the network up.
“We felt there was a niche in the market and that a forum such as this, which is a first for the property profession, would be a good way to begin addressing the equality gap for the LGBT community.”
Chris Edwards, associate at Stonewall, said: “The property sector’s considerably behind other industries in tackling sexual orientation issues and is failing to reap associated benefits, for example being better placed to secure contracts, being able to recruit and retain the best people from the widest pool of talent as well as tapping into a lucrative but often overlooked LGB market, estimated to be worth between £70bn and £80bn in Britain.”
Taylor Wessing was also the setting for the launch of the Gay Employment Lawyers Network earlier this year (17 January 2011).