41% of young women aged 13–22 believe their gender will hold them back in the workplace. But they also say that the rise of female leaders could help to change sexist attitudes and encourage workplace diversity, according to a new YouGov survey commissioned by RICS.
It’s no secret that the property, infrastructure and built environment sectors suffer from an image problem when it comes to diversity. The property and construction industries were perceived by respondents to be among the least diverse with 29% of girls saying that the sector was purely for men.
Among the industries perceived as most diverse are retail and health, with law and construction cited as the least. Of course, many of us know that there are some great examples of diversity out there within our industry, but they need to become more visible.
While almost half of young women believed that their gender would count against them in the workplace, young men seem to think differently, with 20% saying that they expect to earn more in their careers than their female counterparts.
But there may be hope on the horizon in the form of Theresa May, Hilary Clinton and Nicola Sturgeon. 43% of young women believe that having a female Prime Minister or President will encourage gender diversity at work. Of those surveyed, 73% believe that the attitudes and behaviour of CEOs and senior leaders are important in encouraging equal numbers of men and women.
In response, I have taken a pledge to drive gender equality in this sector and to question speaking on panels that are not diverse or representative. All too often, the panels that are created for events or conferences do not reflect the richness of the experiences from our industry and profession. They do not help promote the role models of the future that the industry desperately needs and who will help inspire more diverse generations to come. We will undertake a number of initiatives to help our professional firms and partners to fly the flag for inclusion. I encourage other CEOs and senior leaders to join me in this challenge and promote change in our industry.