Brendan Wong and Stacey Moseley
Women still face challenges moving up to managerial positions in real estate, according to a number of leading CEOs.
At Real Estate Business’ most recent Executive Roundtable the topic of equality was discussed, with mixed response from the table.
CEO of hockingstuart Nigel O’Neil said women had a long way to go in the real estate industry.
“It’s a real challenge because, factually, 95 per cent of our staff in property management are women and 80 per cent of sales staff are men, and ... only seven per cent of our directors are female," he told the roundtable.
“To change that over time without forcing that change is a real challenge. For us it’s around consistency in making decisions - so getting the right people into the right job for the right reasons.”
He said it was important to remove the “boys’ club” mentality in the business and ensuring opportunities were based on merit.
A number of organisations, including LJ Hooker and hockingstuart, have initiatives that focus on women in real estate.
“It’s getting leaders from both sales and PMs and directors together and trying to encourage more females to come into leadership roles,” Mr O’Neil said.
CENTURY 21 CEO Charles Tarbey disagreed, saying that the most prominent people in his business were females.
“The ladies head up the property management, and it’s not a small business,” he said. “They’ve got a massive asset to look after and they’re all females.
“I find that our most successful people in sales are female. Our number one sales person is a female.”
General manager of Laing+Simmons Leanne Pilkington said more men at an executive level needed to consider women applying for roles on the board.
“Quite often the women are every bit as good as the men but don’t necessarily get the opportunities they should, so it is a very difficult balance,” she said.
However, the latest Real Estate Business straw poll has found 87.6 per cent of 233 readers believe women have equal opportunities as men to progress in the real estate industry.
Director of hockingstuart Ringwood Karen Vogl, who was ranked 13th in Real Estate Business’ Top 100 Agents, said the opportunities were available but women needed to have more belief in themselves.
“It’d be nice to see more women taking up positions in principal roles. The good thing about real estate is that it’s performance-based, so if you’ve got the skills on the board, you’ll get the respect you deserve, which is great. That’s a forum where women can really shine,” she said.
Other participants at the Real Estate Business’ Executive Roundtable included, Georg Chmiel of LJ Hooker, Andrew Cocks of Richardson&Wrench, Geoff Baldwin of RE/MAX WA, Peter Hanscomb of Belle Property and Douglas Driscoll of Starr Partners.