This year, on International Women's Day (8 March) we're asking property firms to make their female role models more visible, and break down any barriers that prevent them from progressing in to leadership positions.

Women in property pic

Join in | Show us your talent

If you’re a female surveyor – or an employer with female talent – you can support our campaign by joining in the conversation on Twitter. Use the hashtags #LoveSurveying and #IWD and become more ‘visible’ by highlighting what projects/activities you’re working on, or perhaps what events you’re attending/speaking at that other women in the industry may like to attend.

Women are integral to the industry

Women make a huge difference to the built environment, and are expected to make up more than a quarter of the construction workforce by 2020, up from its current level of about 14%. But last year it was revealed there were fewer than 21 women on the boards of the top 20 UK contractors. To add to this, just 14% of chartered surveyors in the UK are female, and this figure is an improvement on previous years.

Kate Charrington, Residential Surveyor and Valuer, Countrywide has been a key figure in building a ‘Women in Surveying’ network to increase the visibility of women and she’s also a prolific vlogger.

Firms certainly have their role to play in giving their female talent opportunities to develop, progress and become more visible to inspire the next generation of talent. But I think women in the industry need to be pro-active at becoming more visible too. Effort from both sides will make a tangible difference in attracting and maintaining female talent.

My vlogs give me the ideal opportunity to speak about my career journey and highlight the vast range of opportunities in the industry available for all, especially young people who are interested in gadgets as property-technology – including drones and virtual reality – is revolutionising how we work.

Barriers women face

Balancing family and work commitments, as well as what often is perceived as a ‘job for men only’, are the most common barriers to progression, encountered by women in the land, property and construction sectors.

Overcoming obstacles to gain a diverse workforce

To help address these issues RICS has developed an initiative known as the Inclusive Employer Quality Mark (IEQM) designed to help firms of all sizes gain a more diverse and inclusive workforce. It asks firms to pledge their commitment to adopting and continually improving across a number of key areas including recruitment and staff development. Signatories of the pledge are assessed on an ongoing basis, with RICS providing support on any areas identified as needing improvement.

Over 160 organisations have become signatories of our Quality Mark, and it’s been fantastic to see many of these firms put in place, or make improvements to their mentoring schemes, with some even launching their own corporate female support networks, and many offering flexible working patterns and improved return to work programmes.

As a profession, we are making strides in creating a more diverse and inclusive industry; 27% of our newly qualified members are female and enrolments are up by 3% on last year to 26%. This demonstrates that the property sector is increasingly becoming more attractive to women as a career. To ensure the industry continues to attract more female talent, firms must ensure they provide equal opportunities for all.

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