Even before the pandemic hit, women were reportedly flocking to real estate for the flexible arrangements it offered, finding the ability to work around competing commitments a huge incentive in joining the field.
A 2019 study from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency reported a steady increase of women joining the real estate industry over the decade, up to 48.5 per cent from 43 per cent 10 years prior.
Since then, one network said that shifts in lifestyle and family priorities have only further encouraged female participation in the industry.
Raine & Horne has reported on its attempts to play an active role in growing the ranks of female real estate professionals, highlighting a number of initiatives they’ve instituted to even the gender balance across the business.
The network recognises that gender diversity among staff often starts as a trickle-down effect from the top. By ensuring that 50 per cent of the senior management team is made up of women, the brand feels that they’re creating a culture that feels hospitable to those looking to not only join the firm but climb the ranks.
“It’s important to set clear pathways for career development for women, to get an idea of what their career could look like in leadership or high performing sales agent roles,” said the network’s national head of growth Tina Ashton.
Ms Ashton noted she’s speaking from firsthand experience.
She herself started in a sales role in 1996 before becoming the licensee at a Central Coast office. From there, she moved into the corporate world in 2014; she has served in various roles, including as a network manager.
Ms Ashton emphasised the need to make space for women in all segments of the industry if the company is to truly consider itself working toward gender parity.
“There are a lot of opportunities well beyond the clerical roles that women were traditionally assigned to in real estate,” she noted.
Seeing its reputation as a family-owned and operated company as paramount to its values, Raine & Horne described the need to evolve to welcome more women into the workforce as something of a responsibility.
“Raine & Horne’s values have underpinned this drive for equity in the network, recognising that the nature of family has shifted, and a workplace needs to cater for that,” the network said in a release, citing a desire for women to “no longer have to see family as a barrier to a successful career in real estate”.
Current member Casey DeMichele can attest to finding the balance she was seeking under Raine & Horne’s banner.
The South Australian agent who operates in the Murraylands region welcomed her first child recently and has found that freed from the perspective of seeing her mothering commitments as a hindrance, she’s been able to see — and even sell — its benefits to potential clients.
“I spend a lot of time getting to know my vendors, as buying, and selling a home can be an emotional thing, well beyond just the numbers.
“I’ve built up a great client base who have found my empathy and me being in the depths of family life to be a selling point,” she said.
“Real estate is a great career in that it allows for flexibility in how we work.”
Jasmin Turpin of Raine & Horne Coomera emphasised, however, that there are still prevailing attitudes that need to be countered.
Due to her age and gender, the agent said that “people often underestimate my skills, experience, and determination”.
She was motivated to seek a university degree to gain more credibility among her peers.
But for her, being a part of an industry that she’s passionate about has been its own reward.
“The efforts I have gone to have just reinforced how much I love real estate,” she said.