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International Women’s Day: Diversity is key in property

In honour of International Women’s Day, which took place on Sunday March 8, Property Investor Today dedicates this week to recognising and promoting women that are going against the grain in the property industry.

Over 60% of LRG’s employees are female

Leaders Romans Group (LRG) recently revealed that women account for a majority of its employees.

The property services group employs more than 2,100 staff across its brands – largely formed of Leaders, Romans, Boyer and recently-acquired companies Dunlop Heywood and Moginie James.

In an industry which has historically been viewed as male-dominated, LRG stands strong on breaking that view, with over 60% of staff being women, and many of the key decision-makers in the company being women, too.

Hannah Cooper, group HR director, comments: “Ensuring we celebrate International Women’s Day is so important to us at LRG, as well as ensuring women are treated equally. I am proud to work for an organisation where there are so many strong female leaders and supportive male counterparts.”

International Women’s Day: Diversity is key in property

Leaders Romans Group’s chief executive officer, Peter Kavanagh, says: “With the slogan for International Women’s Day being ‘Each for Equal’, it’s fantastic to see so many women employed by LRG, in roles spanning from assistants and executives to managers and directors.”

Vanessa Foot, culture and community manager, adds: “I am proud to work for such a forward-thinking company which embraces and sees the importance and benefits of employing women at all levels.”

“For me personally, it is great to see a significant change in the number of women in property – and more importantly being given the opportunity to further their careers within the industry.”

Women’s careers are flourishing at Rendall & Rittner

In light of International Women’s Day, female members of Rendall & Rittner’s senior team took the time to detail what it’s like to have a career in the property management industry.

Catherine Orezzi, HR director, has been with the company since 2017. She explains that Rendall & Rittner are doing ‘an excellent job’ at promoting roles for women, with a 59% female and 41% male split within its head office.

“All our recruitment practices are inclusive, support flexibility in terms of working locations and working hours, which can be an important factor for those who have families,” she says. “We have done a lot of work recently in highlighting our benefits, which has been well received by people joining the company. Some 10% of our employees also work part-time and we have seen an increase in this over the last year or so.”

Sam Short, divisional director, adds: “We support family initiatives such as The Daisy Chain, a company set up specifically for parents to match their careers, while supporting their work life balance. We also have great initiatives for retaining women following maternity leave.”

Alexandra Redmond, director of Cardoe Martin, further adds to the narrative, having witnessed an increase in women joining the property sector. She comments: “As a Chartered Building Surveyor, I can see that more women are entering property and surveying in particular. Our governing body, RICS, are committed to promoting the industry as an equal and progressive industry for women to enter and succeed in.”

Sue Petri, director at Rendall & Rittner, continues: “I have been in the industry for 20 years now and have definitely seen an increase in women joining our industry.”

Despite this, the senior management team are all in agreement that more needs to be done to promote the building and property management industries within schools and universities.

Orezzi says: “We need to build closer relationships with universities to talk to students about what the property industry is like. I think there is a perception that we are estate agents which may put some women off. At our graduate fayres last year, we met a huge number of women who were interested in a career in property.”

International Women’s Day: Diversity is key in property

Petri expands: “I didn’t come into property management until my mid-30s and I think that the wider experience gained in life and other careers has stood me in excellent stead, bringing many transferrable skills. I think that we should be encouraging everyone into this career, not just younger generations.”

According to director Catherine Riva, a varied workforce has its advantages for the whole industry. She explains: “I strongly believe it is important in any sector to have a good mix of male and female employees at all levels. At Rendall & Rittner, we want to recruit and retain the best people in the industry and further afield – male and female. We have created flexible working initiatives, great employee packages and engagement initiatives which appeal to everyone.”

Riva understands that property can often be perceived as an industry that has long working hours and isn’t very flexible. However, this isn’t the reality for her.

“Due to the nature of the job, meetings outside of normal working hours are necessary, but can discourage some women who have childcare responsibilities. This is why it’s important that flexible working initiatives are introduced to businesses. At Rendall & Rittner, we have developed a range of flexible working and wider employee initiatives to ensure that our employees work and family life is always in balance.”

Earlier this week, we looked at women in construction, another facet of the property industry that is seeing a rise in female workers. Additionally, we have an ongoing Women in Property Investment series, which shines a light on different women in the property investment world.

Poll: Has the property industry become diverse enough?

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