To celebrate International Women’s Day on 08 March, we asked eight inspirational women across Hollis about their experience of what it’s like to be a female in the property industry today and how we can continue to close the gender gap.
What’s the biggest challenge for you as a woman in the property industry?
Anne: “A big challenge is that women are still massively under-represented in leadership positions. Even the best male allies just do not understand the challenges that women face in the workplace. It’s hard to spot that someone needs a helping hand when you can’t even see the problem.
Mel: “The misconception that you must be at work for 7/8 hours a day to seen to be doing your job. Once women are judged by their ability to meet their targets or meet their challenges (rather than how many hours they sit at a desk), they will truly have the flexibility to be able to reach those senior roles whilst, for example, bringing up a young family.”
Katherine: “For me, the only challenge that exists for women and not men is that it is a male dominated industry. This does not only have to be a challenge, but can also be an opportunity to bring a new perspective and a fresh way of doing things.”
What can the property industry do to attract more women?
Lynsey: “I think we need to educate children about real estate career options at an early age so that we can allow young people to see it as a viable prospect, regardless of gender – when I was in school I’d never even heard of a Building Surveyor, so it’s clear that we need to do more to raise awareness.”
Katherine: “Having women in leadership positions shows other women the path and that the opportunities exist.”
Hannah: “Start early in primary schools – engage with local and national education providers to show that it is a career path for everyone. Get more women into leadership roles, and not just in operations functions, to act as role models. Look at the language used in job advertisements and make sure that it is gender neutral. The list goes on.”
How can the property industry ensure all genders are being treated equally?
Wioletta: “If you read the magazines or books about construction, you can see that the majority of the experts are male. We should provide more female experts and let them be heard by the industry.”
Nicola: “A mixed gender team works more efficiently and that is becoming increasingly recognised in the property industry. The gap in senior management is still noticeable however, so it’s important for businesses to have schemes in place to identify and develop the future ‘best and brightest’, not just those who shout the loudest.”
Kellie: “I think it is important that any marketing or career literature shows both men and women. Women need to be able to identify with other women in the industry.”
Hannah: “It’s not just about attracting more women into surveying roles; we also need to attract more men to support roles and break down the stereotypes that exist in that line of work too.”
What’s your ‘top tip’ for excelling as a woman in property?
Wioletta: “The key to success is to be confident and determined, just trust your knowledge and instincts – this attitude can work wonders and earn you the respect you deserve.”
Anne: “Your voice matters, don’t be afraid to use it. Take ownership of your ideas and your work and take credit where it is due. If you are praised for doing a good job of something, accept that praise graciously. It’s not enough just to be in the room, or at the table. Make sure you speak up at that meeting, or ask a question at that presentation.”
Nicola: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help sooner rather than taking everything on yourself.”
Kellie: “You don’t have to choose between career progression and raising a family. I know many women within Hollis who have successfully done both. A good company will understand, be flexible and accommodate you having both.“
Mel: “Get stuck in and don’t wait for the perfect job – just give it a go and do everything to the very best of your ability. Go the extra mile and give more than you’re asked as often as you can. You never know who is watching and what opportunities they have coming up.”