While one estimate puts women’s employment in the property industry – estate agency, consultancy, property management, among others – at about 25 per cent, it’s still very much a male-dominated world.
The Construction Industry Federation has reported that between 2017 and 2019 the number of women working in the building industry rose from 5,400 to 12,500, or from 5.3 per cent to 8.49 per cent of the total workforce.
More research on women’s participation and pay is needed, but a survey of almost 1,100 SCSI members in 2020 found that the national median salary for a chartered surveyor is €70,000, and that median salaries for women increased by 11 per cent, narrowing the pay gap between men and women to 5 per cent. The SCSI report showed that the median national salary in the construction sector was €71,500, in the property sector was €66,500 and in the land sector was €60,000.
Next Tuesday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day (IWD), and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland will launch Elevate, its mentoring programme for women in surveying. The society is formalising the pilot scheme it introduced last year as part of its equality, diversity and inclusion strategy.
Shirley Coulter, chief executive of the society – of whose 5,000-plus membership about 20 per cent are women – said the programme aims to connect women with mentors working across construction, land and property, and that the SCSI “is committed to increasing diversity in the surveying profession . . . the sector has traditionally been male dominated but more and more women are pursuing careers in the industry, and we want to provide them with as much support as possible.
“Whether they are starting out or looking to take the next step or are re-entering the workforce, this programme will provide them with the practical advice and tools they need to achieve their career ambitions.”
Starting next month and running until December, Elevate is designed to help women who are working in the property and construction sector and will consist of mentorship meetings as well as online workshops on leadership, self-awareness, strategic thinking, negotiation skills and goal setting.
Next Tuesday’s launch will include online and in-person discussions and workshops with a panel to be chaired by strategic planning and change management specialist Valerie O’Keeffe. It will include Elaine Torpey, managing director of Torpey Property Advisers, who is a mentor on the programme, and mentee Mary Doyle, who is acquisitions manager with IRES.
It will also include career coach Treasa Fitzgibbon who said that, in keeping with IWD’s theme, Break the Bias, a call to imagine a gender-equal world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination, she will seek to highlight to SCSI members how unconscious bias can affect decisions around recruitment, performance management, promotions and can affect the motivation and engagement of staff.
To register for the IWD launch event, see scsi.ie/calendar