Uncategorised 8 March 2019

Shining a light on women in property

By Stephanie Bocking

This International Women’s Day we look at diversity and equality in the property sector

At Downing, we’ve experienced first-hand the many benefits that come with employing a diverse workforce.

We’re proud to employ an experienced team of women across every level of our business. We believe that diversity makes our team stronger and more innovative, which is reflected by the number of senior and management level women who help to shape the direction of our company’s growth.

International Women’s Day on 8th March is a day dedicated to celebrating the social, economic and political achievements of women.

It’s crucial that employers ensure women are visible at every level of the company’s ranks, nowhere more so than in senior leadership. Creating these female role models will lead the way for more women to seek to the support and direction they need to progress up the career ladder.

We asked Michaela Graham, Design Manager at Downing Construction, what inspired her to join the sector: “My dad had his own architectural practice and I went to work there in the school holidays, which I really enjoyed, especially when we got to visit a construction site.

“It’s important that we educate girls at school age that construction is a good career choice for women. We need to let them know it’s not the harsh working environment that some people still perceive it to be. It’s challenging, fulfilling, it’s a wonderful feeling to drive past a building knowing you had a hand in building it.” 

Employers must recognise the need of striking a healthy work-life balance for staff, especially for those who are mothers or may be considering motherhood in the future. The impact of motherhood on a woman’s career cannot be underestimated and for many women it is a career-changing factor to consider.

The transition back into full-time work should also be a smooth, straightforward process and it is the responsibility of employers to ensure that there are flexible working options available for working mothers to return to and progress in work, without hindering their career development.

Lindsey O’Brien, Tax and Finance Director at Downing, said: “I think the sector has taken great strides to redress the gender balance – I’m personally fortunate to have never experienced inequality in my career progression. It’s important that companies and businesses ensure that they accommodate maternity leave and returning to work for working mums and ensuring women aren’t disadvantaged as a result of having children, for example.”

Across the property sector, it is vital that we provide the advancement opportunities and stable support network to allow more women to build a rewarding career in our industry.

Kate Carr, Property Management Surveyor at Downing, said: “Property is an interesting sector to be part of as it surrounds our everyday lives, whether it’s housing, commercial or student aspects.

“Property is not all about buildings and builders. There is a huge network of people that contribute towards the property industry, who are all necessary for it to work effectively and women form a significant part of that dynamic with the skills we have to offer.”

It is the collective responsibility of our sector to press for greater gender parity. Over the next 12 months, we hope to see even bigger steps being taken to implement these positive changes across the industry to create a more equal, balanced and fulfilled workforce.



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