The latest IMF study on gender diversity published this month asserts that gender diversity boosts productivity growth including in countries like India, because women bring new skills to the workplace in all areas or sectors. The research paper said that reducing female underemployment should yield greater gains than an equivalent increase in male employment.
However, the IMF also says that not all economic sectors show comparable levels of gender equality, in both developing and developed economies.
At a booming Expo Real fair in Munich, inspirational role models joined a panel session hosted by RICS to share their views on how we can make gender equality a reality in the real estate industry. Here is their valuable insight:
Judith Gabler, RICS Director of Operations, Europe, Regional Manager, DACH, explained that as a sustainable 21st century professional body RICS has a key role to play to encourage further action relating to equal opportunities and the advancement of women.
At present, statistics show that only 14% out of the over 125,000 RICS qualified professionals that operate across all sectors of the built environment worldwide are women. Although this percentage varies per country (with 21% in France and 18% in Germany) this shows there is still work to do.
“Employers need to build and retain a healthy pipeline and a more diverse talent pool to run the businesses of the future. Although there is evidence of the advantages, the image of the property sector is still perceived as protectionist, resistant to change and a male preserve. This results in skilled women turning their back on the business, threatening performance and talent.” said Judith.
“Salary progression stops at middle-management level. It’s not just what men can do to help women, but women also need to better articulate their needs, negotiate salary and be more pro-active. What men can do is better support their female colleagues to climb the career ladder and be mindful of opportunities especially if they are in a position to influence. Organisations need to create more mixed teams with diverse talent; introduce more mentoring schemes for example and foster internal and external networks” added Cornelia.
Dr. Andreas Muschter, CEO, Commerz Real AG also said: "Gender equality can’t be completely separate from culture. Where you come from and your parents’ attitudes or your social environment can hugely influence your own attitude to work and career. For example, in former East Germany it was the norm that child care facilities were provided for women to facilitate their return to work so it wasn’t as much a negative or a problem".
Anne Bailly MRICS, Owner, Bailly Real Estate GmbH said: "Responsibility cannot be attributed to one person – all stakeholders (men, women, organisation) can play a role. Women have been driving the need until now, but the organisation can create that need without women having to push them. It’s about a management re-think".
California has just become the first state in the USA to mandate female board directors which has been received with mixed views; and in Germany there is a 30% threshold.
RICS runs a recruitment process based on skills and competencies and not on female quotas. Nevertheless, there are both pros and cons to quotas – one could see them as a necessary evil.
Head of Media & Communications, Europe
Laura has worked for RICS since 2007 and she is in charge of developing and maintaining a proactive media relations programme to raise the profile and credibility of RICS in continental Europe. She ensures accuracy and consistency of communications in cross-cutting messages to different audiences, provides support in the preparation of material for key delegates and dispenses newsworthy information to media and PR agencies.