What is it?
Leadership 2025 is a charity working across the sector, together with our key stakeholders, to make the housing sector leadership more diverse. Leadership 2025 addresses the supply and demand sides of the diversity leadership challenge.
Our vision is for the leadership of the housing sector to be ethnically diverse. Our mission is to dismantle structural inequality within the housing sector. Our three-year Business Plan can be found here.
Why was it set up?
In many areas, the housing sector is ahead of the curve on diversity and inclusion in employment.
Research from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) shows that the housing sector is:
- More diverse than other sectors
- Employing a higher proportion of women
- Employing more people from BME communities
- Employing more people with disabilities
But where the sector falls short is in the proportion of BME people in key leadership roles. It is disproportionately small with just 4% of senior leadership roles held by individuals from BME backgrounds, compared to a 14% BME make-up of the total population. Whilst there are a number of BME CEOs in BME HAs, these organisations tend to be between 50 – 5,000 units. The representation of BME individuals in larger HAs drops significantly.
Following the woeful diversity statistics at the top level and the clear benefits of having diverse leadership teams well documented, Leadership 2025, with support from a number of allies, was set up in 2016 with an ambition of providing solutions and stimulating the housing sector to address inequalities. This would thereby lead to delivering a step-change in ethnically diverse leadership across the sector.
“The CIH Presidential Commission on Leadership and Diversity identified some big sector challenges to facilitate inclusion at the top. Leadership 2025 is one powerful solution. I’m delighted to see the sector is ready to take action.”
Terrie Alafat (CIH Chief Executive), 2017
Leadership 2025 consists of two main strands, which are aimed to complement each other:
- Cultural Impact
- Support Talent
Leadership 2025 seeks to positively disrupt the housing sector by challenging current perceptions and promoting the fact that diversity is not something that ticks boxes but is good for business. Leadership 2025 has published two research reports (2017 and 2019) with statistics and recommendations to support organisations to make a change.
The cultural impact strand aims to get a sector wide mindset change that understands the importance of making leadership teams more reflective of the communities they serve. This includes encouraging employers to champion support for diverse leadership and to take demonstrable action.
Leadership 2025 has been working with trade bodies and political organisations to effect this sector wide shift. As a registered charity, Leadership 2025 will conduct further impactful research reports, collaborate with other public sector agencies and access funding from other diversified sources. This in turn will allow us to have a greater impact within the housing sector and beyond.
This strand focuses on the continued need to ensure that BME senior managers can feel they are fully equipped to be sector leaders. To address the lack of senior BME managers in leadership teams and boards, we developed, with Roffey Park Business school, an intensive nine-month leadership programme, involving strategic learning, peer group challenge, sector leadership mentors and technical masterclasses. Those who go through the leadership development programme should be sat around the top table of sector leadership in future years.
Leadership 2025 has a long-term ambition of supporting the creation of a housing sector that is vibrant and diverse at all levels, with better representation of BME individuals at leadership levels.
Leadership 2025 Success Stories
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, shows his support as he congratulates the second cohort and emphasises the importance of diversity in the housing sector.