A new survey is being conducted among women in the property industry to find out how the industry can best promote females.
The survey was created by Sadhana Smiles, the CEO of Harcourts Victoria, with an aim to discover the ambitions of women in property, what gets in the way of those, how leaders — particularly female leaders in the industry — can help elevate women.
Ms Smiles, a long-term promoter of women in business, created the survey to generate data that would show the need to develop an action plan to instigate change.
“Women already make up a significant portion of the industry; the real question is why are female leaders important in business, and particularly in real estate?” the CEO said.
Ms Smiles said that gender-diverse businesses are more profitable than those that are not, and a quick fix was not the solution.
“In real estate, ensuring that we have a pool of women that we can promote into executive levels is more important than simply appointing female CEOs. There has to be a pipeline of talent,” the CEO said.
According to the latest figures from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, women account for 42.9 per cent of the industry but only 5.7 per cent of the CEOs.
In fact, in the industry, women account for 82 per cent of the clerical roles but less than 23 per cent of the executives and less than 27 per cent of the senior managers.
It is these types of figures that must change, according to Ms Smiles.
“The future of the industry has to move from being labelled as a ‘boys club’ to one that is seen as a reflection of the communities we work in. Diversity in leadership will lead to diversity of thought, ideas, service,” Ms Smiles said.
The advantage of women in the workplace is their unique approach to selling that is often different to the males in the industry.
“Women do business in a different way. Studies have shown that women are better communicators, have more empathy, better networks and are more effective deal makers,” the CEO said.
The survey will generate data on women in the industry to hopefully create an action plan, but before then, there are steps women can take.
“The important role that women can play today is to step up and ask for leadership roles, to ask for parity and to call out unacceptable behaviour,” Ms Smiles said.
The survey is currently online and is open only for women. It can be accessed here.