Women have made great progress in real estate but there is still a lack of female representation in leadership roles, according to the general manager of one real estate group.
General manager of Laing+Simmons Leanne Pilkington told Real Estate Business although there were opportunities for women in enter into management positions in real estate, the reality reflected otherwise.
“Real estate is not really a family-friendly business and a lot of hard work, and a lot of women make the choice to step out of their career to raise a family and so it’s the age-old story. Real estate is no different to other corporate situation.”
Ms Pilkington spoke at the seventh annual Women in Real Estate Conference in Sydney this week where she shared her story in becoming the general manager of Laing+Simmons and the challenges she faced.
“Particularly when I was promoted into my role I needed to find my voice because lot of the meetings that I had were male dominated,” she said.
“Men and women have very different ways of communicating particularly in that sort of environment so I had to find my voice and learn to make sure that I was heard.”
Ms Pilkingston said if women wanted to take up leadership positions, they needed to have the desire and be prepared to work for it.
“If they want to do it then they need to find a mentor who they can work with and not necessarily a woman either, just someone who’s made in the industry that they can work with and bounce ideas off and communicate with to help them to get to the next level.”
Women also needed to have confidence in their ability.
“People thought that I was a lot more capable and had a lot more talent than I ever realised. I just thought people were just saying those things.
“Other people saw things in me that I didn’t see until I got older and so I think there are a lot of women out there that are like that.”
Ms Pilkington added that she never thought she would be accepted or respected as the leader of her organisation.
“I always saw myself as a really good number two working behind the CEO getting things done,” she said.
“When I was promoted all my franchisees were positive in embracing me as the leader because they knew I was passionate about the brand and passionate about their businesses and that’s what they wanted in a leader.”
Over 230 women attended the Women in Real Estate Conference, which was organised by organised by the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW).
Event founder and former REINSW president Christine Castle told Real Estate Business the event was a success that had attracted a consistent following since its inception in 2007.
“When I was president, I felt there was a need for women to be able to come to Sydney and to actually have training, which is provided, but also for women to get together and discuss the issues that concerned them, to get some good speakers to be inspired but also to motivate and network,” she said.
“A conference like this has in fact filled a void and the women thoroughly enjoy it and it continues to get more support and gets better so we’re just delighted that everyone comes.”