Real Estate: Gender on the Agenda

Gordana Davila

June 12, 2013

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on linkedin
Share on email

After the success of Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, a range of initiatives to strive for equality worldwide including Chime for Change and the launch of the UK government’s Women’s Business Council, so far 2013 has been a good year for ambitious women in all industries.

From the builders to the architects, the sales staff to the managing directors, one industry that has a long way to go to change its male-dominated reputation is the housing industry. According to the Association of Women in Property, women represent only 15% of property and construction industry workforce. However there are lots of talented women fighting through the cement ceiling to make the industry a more equal place.

Laurna Robertson from WhatHouse.co.uk spoke to Penni Pennington, a director of ConnectIn, the organisers of the Women in Housing awards which launches this year. When asked what she would like to see in the next five years for women in the industry, she said: “I’d like to see talented and committed women continue to be attracted to the sector and encourage women already in the sector to develop themselves and their careers. There are already a significant number of high-profile CEs across the sector.”

Five senior executives who have already reached the top tell us what they think is the way forward to get more equality across the property industry.

Business Women

Residential

Helen Moore, managing director of City & Country Group.

Helen Moore joined City and Country Group in March 2010 and assumed responsibility for the day-to-day running of the business and leadership of the team with a focus on the company’s growth plans. She has worked for Countryside Properties and Crest Nicholson and has been in the industry for 20 years.

WH: How did you reach the top in a male-dominated industry?

HM: “Working in a male-dominated industry does have its challenges but I have found that being an ambitious female has, on balance, been more of an advantage than a disadvantage and it has set me apart. Progressing to becoming the first non-family managing director of City & Country Group from a career in senior sales and marketing director positions and running my own consultancy was not necessarily a traditional appointment. However, it has proved extremely beneficial when selling to a specialist market, particularly in the current climate, as I have a deep understanding of what the purchaser wants and I have brought a different perspective to the City & Country board which has made us an even better and stronger team.”

WH: What do you think is required to get more women working in the property industry?

HM: “Naturally we are starting to see more women rising to greater heights throughout the various facets of the property industry but at City & Country we are actively pursuing the best young graduate talent to join our business.”

Political

Roberta Blackman Woods, Labour MP for Durham and shadow minister for communities and local government.

Training as a sociologist with an expertise in housing, Roberta Blackman Woods worked as the professor of social policy and an associate dean at the University of Northumbria prior to her election. Her role on the shadow cabinet covers planning policy and procurement.

WH: How did you reach the top in a male-dominated industry?

RBW: “One of the most important things is staying focused on what you want to achieve in your career and remembering your principles. Your principles should help guide everything in your career from the biggest decisions to how you treat your staff on a daily basis. It is as important for those in business as it is for those of us in politics. Often the people in business who I find most impressive, and are the most successful, are those who set out with a very clear idea of what they wanted to do and their principles.”

WH: What do you think is required to get more women working in the property industry?

RBW: “We need to have more high-profile female architects, with the exception of Zaha Hadid, very few women architects are very well known. This means that too often architecture doesn’t come on to the career radar of young women early enough to take the right subjects and work towards it. I think we also need to see more programmes like that which has been used in science to publicise the benefits and possibilities of a career in architecture at a young age. It is so important that we do this as women have a lot to offer architecture, particularly in making aesthetically beautiful and eminently practical spaces both in the home and commercial settings.”

Social

Jackie Bligh, director of governance and compliance for Genesis Housing.

Jackie started her career in housing in a local authority and she worked for a female director of housing. She has since gained a wealth of housing experience, notably as the chief executive at Merthyr Valleys Homes and on the Council of the National Housing Federation, including three years as Vice Chair. She joined Genesis in 2011.

WH: How did you reach the top in a male dominated industry?

JB: “I never saw my gender as a reason to be held back and was appointed chief executive of a small Large Scale Voluntary Transfer (LSVT) when I was 32-years-old. I wouldn’t say that I had planned my career, but I took advantage of moving to different organisations and made the most of the opportunities that were on offer at the time. It’s about taking the opportunities when they arise and not waiting to be asked – more often than not someone else will get there first!

“I take pride in my work. I work hard and deliver, on time and to a high standard. I have always had a good network of contacts as well, which I think is important. So if I don’t know the answer (or have the skills), then I know someone who does and I trust they will deliver to the same standard that I would.”

WH: What do you think is required to get more women working in the property industry?

JB: “Housing management has always attracted women, but it is the more technical areas that do not seem to generate the same level of interest, particularly in the construction side of the property business. Part of this may be down to the fact that these subjects are not targeted at girls when they are at school, although with more links to colleges now this may start to change.

“We need to advertise the different types of roles that are available and include women in the intended audience, not just assume that young girls will end up working in administration or HR. I include mainstream media in this; it has a big role to play in the way it portrays women in what have traditionally been seen as male-dominated careers. But tokenism is not the way forward either and we have to be careful not to trivialise the issue.”

Financial

Julie Fawcett, head of facilities management at MITIE and the national chairman of the Association of Women in Property.

Julie is currently head of facilities management for the North of the UK working on the outsourced Lloyds Banking Group contract.  She started her career with Halifax plc in 1986 and held a variety of positions within the property division, specifically project management, procurement and supplier management roles before moving into facilities management.

WH: How did you reach the top in a male-dominated industry?

JF: “I didn’t set out with a burning ambition to reach the top, so in a sense it was accidental. However, throughout my career I have worked hard, applied myself and haven’t made gender an issue. I just got on with the job and proved myself by doing it well. I was fortunate enough to have two terrific sponsors – one of whom was a female line manager who totally believed in me. Getting yourself noticed early on by doing a great job makes a huge difference to career progression.”

WH: What do you think is required to get more women working in the property industry?

JF: “In my view there is still a staggering lack of awareness of the career opportunities available to women, so girls making education choices in school, that will affect their careers, don’t know what’s out there.  Women in Property is working hard to help combat this – we go into schools to explain the ‘what and how’ and we are planning to produce a careers DVD this year, for use in schools. There is also the issue of women staying in the industry, which tends to happen when they hit their early 30s. Many find it very hard to get back in, after a career break when they might have left to start a family. The industry needs to look long and hard at how it can facilitate these professional, highly skilled women in returning to work in an environment which is still far from flexible.  It is an awful drain on talent and, when the market returns in coming years, I think we will all be facing a serious skills gap.”

Industry 

Beatrice Orchard, head of communications at the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Beatrice has been Head of Communications at FMB since July 2012 with responsibility for the FMB’s integrated policy and public affairs, media relations, marketing and events programme.

WH: How did you reach the top in a male-dominated industry?

BO: “I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to get to my current position. I think personal development is very important to anyone who wants to be successful at work and I have often jumped at the opportunity to take on extra studies. Last year I completed a Public Affairs Diploma and wrote my final research report on changes to the planning system in England.

“Most of the time there is a big gender imbalance in the meetings I attend, which is a shame. Every industry needs people from a variety of different backgrounds in order to thrive. In property and construction we have to work especially hard at this because there are so many different customer groups, including men and women, children and pets.”

WH: What do you think is required to get more women working in the property industry?

BO: “Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer for Facebook, startled lots of people recently when she said women hold themselves back at work because we tend to like men who are successful in the workplace more than women who achieve similar professional success. It’s important to celebrate the success of women in the industry and create lots of opportunities for women to come forward and be rightly recognised for their achievements.

“On a more general point, the construction and property industries have a poor record when it comes to employing people from all under-represented groups. There is still a huge amount that can be done at school to provide young people from all backgrounds with practical advice and experience of the different career opportunities in construction and property.”

With the gender imbalance currently being addressed by a range of property organisations and, as Beatrice mentioned, women of all ages inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s monumental text Lean In, women should have more opportunities within the industry over the next ten years than ever before. For now though, young women should take inspiration from these success stories who have each worked hard, worked smart and never let that fact that they are women stop them.

 

 

WhatHouse.co.uk is the leading new homes portal, featuring thousands of new homes and affordable new homes for sale in the UK. It also provides the latest property news, valuation of homes and property and mortgage advice.

Over the last 31 years, What House? has held its annual What House? Awards, which are the longest-established new homes awards in the UK, recognising UK housebuilders and developers across 21 categories. This year’s gala luncheon is at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Friday 15th November 2013.

Gordana Davila

June 12, 2013

Related News

News & Analysis to Help Build Better Online Marketplaces

Get our famous Friday newsletter

Gold Sponsor

Property Portal Watch

Company Category Here
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.

Acerca de Lucas Vargas:

  • Empezó en Grupo ZAP como el VP de Sales y en 2016 cuando la empresa tenía 60 empleados. Fue nombrado COO de VivaReal tomando el mando de Brian Requarth el Co-Fundador. VivaReal lanzó en Colombia y se trasladó a Brasil. En 2017 se hizo CEO del Grupo ZAP.
  • Ha trabajado en Mexico en PWC y en el Banco Santander
  • Tiene un Master de Business Administration de Harvard
  • En noviembre este año después de la fusión de OLX Brasil y Grupo ZAP fue nombrado el CEO del OLX Business Unit. Lidera la empresa junto con Andries Oudshoorn y Marcos Leite
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam dapibus, dolor vitae fringilla pulvinar, ante nulla venenatis dui, eu venenatis tellus ante a purus. Morbi faucibus lacinia nunc ut sagittis. Pellentesque et maximus justo. Duis tortor erat, venenatis vel neque a, ultricies sagittis lectus. Pellentesque mattis sit amet nunc maximus maximus. In mollis, lorem eu iaculis vestibulum, mi nunc elementum orci, in dictum diam justo sit amet erat. Quisque aliquam a quam ac auctor.
Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.