“This is definitely a man’s world but women can thrive and can be incredible and inspiring leaders if given the right environment to flourish”
”The average woman in paid employment effectively works for free for nearly two months of the year compared to the average man in paid employment” A worrying statistic that hasn’t shifted drastically over the years, but is change coming? What are we doing for it. International Women’s Day is over a 100 years old and is an event that honours and celebrates the history of women. Awareness and understanding of the disparities is essential in order to take actionable change.
A recent study stated the property and real estate sector has the highest gender pay gap with women receiving 31.2% less pay than their male peers. It’s no secret the industry is male dominated but that is one aspect to the several areas within a workplace that can be different to men and women. Organisations need to build on creating an environment that is not only monetarily beneficial but also accommodating of the various experiences and responsibilities women take on such as childcare. Ahead of this International Women’s Day, we spoke to some of the women in the membership who shared their experiences and what changes they would like to see.
A recent report stated women leaders are increasingly switching jobs due to the lack of support and flexibility. We spoke to some of the women within our membership and asked them what they think organisations should do more of to build a supportive and inclusive environment.
Donnathea Campbell, Head of Marketing at Modulous shared I’d like to see more effort made to retain women who have young children or caring commitments and moves to incentivise women to return to the industry if they take a career break.
Sian Metcalfe, Operations Director at Inventory Base expressed “It should never be a case of promoting to meet quotas but base progression on recognising women’s ability, unique perspectives and talents that each individual can bring to the table, and empowering them to succeed in their careers. But we have to create the environment and opportunities to enable women to pursue a career in proptech. Words are not enough, platitudes are not enough, true empowerment requires action”
Georgiana Floroiu, Head of Product Marketing at BrightSpaces shares “Despite recent efforts to promote gender diversity and equality in the industry, the low percentage of women in leadership positions suggests that many companies still view this issue as optional or secondary in importance. I think companies should have, by default, inclusion policies, mentorship programs and leadership training for women. By actively implementing these measures and creating a culture of support, companies can attract and retain more talented women, leading to a more diverse and successful industry as a whole”.
Caroline Donaghue, Director at V1 shares “ A supportive environment comes from the culture created at the very top – it’s embedded in the DNA of every business and how its run and managed. There needs to be more senior women in leadership and board positions, and those women also need to be in a supportive environment where their honest feedback and thoughts are encouraged and received with open minds from their fellow board peers”.
An inclusive workplace environment has a lot of aspects to it, it requires understanding of the different traditional responsibilities that women have had to attend to, how these responsibilities vary based on their backgrounds, culture and individual choices and learning to accommodate them. A recent report suggested for every 100 men who are promoted from entry-level roles to manager positions, only 87 women are promoted, and only 82 women of colour are promoted.
Katherine Gunderson, CEO & Founder at Grand Bequest shared “Companies can help foster a more supportive and inclusive environment for not only women, but more diverse backgrounds, by having more collaborative and iterative hiring and partnering policies to avoid women self-selecting out of an opportunity. Women being traditionally more constrained with domestic responsibilities will need companies to have flexibility at heart and always have a laser focus on bringing together teams of people that come from different backgrounds, skillsets, experiences, and perspectives”.
Solene Quintart, Senior Business Developer at Myr.ai “There is a lot that companies can do to create a more supportive environment for women in the industry, such as creating diverse hiring practices. I went to a lot of events from the industry lately and very often 2/3 of the audience are white males in their 30’s/40’s. Hiring women for positions at all levels and ensuring that they are promoted and rewarded fairly based on their performance and abilities would be a good starting point.”
At UKPA, our membership comprises of several great organisations lead by women or that have created supportive environments for women in leadership positions. We asked the women in our membership what is their one key learning from being in the industry.
Dakota Keyowski, Program Coordinator at Reach UK shared “In my short time within the industry I have noticed that women either gravitate towards or choose to only participate in certain areas of focus (ie. marketing, sustainability, etc). I am not sure if this is just coincidence or if there is something much deeper going on. Perhaps women feel judged or insecure about entering “non-traditional female” roles such as developer or management, or perhaps it is proven to be more difficult for them to enter those types of professions. I have witnessed this in multiple industries, not just real estate, venture capital and tech. I hope that in the near future women are more open and willing to contribute to male-dominated verticals and are not criticized for that decision”
Ella Walter-Pavlou, Innovation Manager at GPE expressed “Working in a male dominated industry, sometimes we as women feel we have to adapt our behaviour to blend in with others. I think it’s important to be yourself, even if you don’t fit the mould of the typical real estate or proptech hire. Our differences are often our greatest strengths”
The industry we operate in is in a state of constant change and growth with newer technologies being developed and new initiatives being introduced but amongst all creating a safe, supportive and inclusive environment needs to be an essential and primary discussion. As we move forward, what does the future of the Industry look like ?
Chenai Gondo , Chief of Staff at Essensys shares “We are really early in our journeys as PropTechs. We have yet to produce a huge proptech behemoth, and the landscape is wide open – there is so much potential for us to grow and carve the industry however we see it”.
Sian Metcalfe, Operations Director at Inventory Base expressed “From my experience so far in the proptech industry, one of the key takeaways that continues to be a point of reference is the need to constantly innovate and redefine the boundaries of what’s possible. In order to truly disrupt an industry like real estate, it’s not enough to just make incremental improvements or follow the status quo. We need to be willing to challenge assumptions, take risks, and think outside the box. Proptech has and continues to revolutionise the real estate industry, but adoption is slow so only those who are quick to adapt and utilise the latest tools and platforms are the ones likely to succeed in the long run”
Katherine Gunderson, CEO & Founder at Grand Bequest shared “Collaboration over competition – the future of business is business for good and positive impact with everything we do throughout the entire supply chain. If a business is not already aware and adapting to this change in risk-return-impact perspective, they will quickly fall behind; it is an exciting time for reinvention and disruption”
UKPA has seen the change within the industry first hand in terms of newer technologies and growth through our members but specifically the emergence of organisations that put inclusion and diversity at its forefront while establishing environments that nurture the success and growth of women.
This International Women’s Day UKPA celebrates all the women in our membership that have launched new businesses, lead teams, developed solutions or been responsible for change within their organisations and continue to contribute inspiring stories.
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