Research has been published that claims just 13% of estate agencies are owned by women, despite at least half the industry’s workforce being female.
The shocking figure is from Belvoir, whose poll of female agents for International Women’s Day found that although 74% of respondents knew there were opportunities for career progression within the industry just under half said juggling family and work life was a factor in not taking the plunge.
Belvoir is taking a more proactive approach and urging female agents who are currently employees to consider becoming a franchisee and owning their own business.
“We have always been keen to promote equal opportunities for potential franchisees and we are keen for more women to consider running their own property management business,” says CEO Dorian Gonsalves.
Representation within agencies’ senior ranks is considerably better than business ownership. Hamptons says 64% of its Heads of Department are female, as are 33% or regional directors, 48% of branch managers. Overall, 63% of its employees are female.
Mary Beeton, Head of Sales at Hamptons (pictured) says: “Starting out in property some 26 years ago it’s fair to say that I had embarked on a career in an industry with little female representation.
“I had very few female peers and there were far fewer females in senior roles. Thankfully this has changed dramatically over the years with women making tremendous in-roads. I am now the Head of Sales at Hamptons and proudly sit on an all-female Exec Team, with Lesley Cairns as our MD and Catherine Westerling, Head of Lettings.”
Natalie Boardman (main picture), is a Director of Belvoir Tunbridge Wells. She says: “One of the main motivating factors for me in becoming a franchisee was that I was able to work for myself and not have to go back to a London commute, after I had my daughter.
“Whilst it’s a lot of hard work running your own business, I also now have lots of flexibility. During the pandemic I worked at home a lot whilst home-schooling my daughter, knowing that my team were running the office.
“I can organise my diary so I can attend special events like a nativity play in the afternoon – and if my daughter is ever unwell I don’t have to ask permission to take time off work.”
Natasha Firman is a chartered surveyor and has been working in the property industry for nearly 20 years and is currently the franchisee of Winkworth’s Tunbridge Wells office.
“Being female is an asset,” she says. “So many times, I have come across women with views that being female hinders you through business, I disagree.
“Yes, a lot of top jobs do go to men, but now more than ever women are being given that chance, but only if you are really good at what you do. Work hard and you will make it to wherever you want to go, but embrace being female. The key is that we think and work differently to most men and that difference is now what is beginning to be recognised.”
More: Read The Negotiator’s inaugural Women in Property Power List.
Read more about Winkworth’s female success stories.
Watch recruiter Nicola Broomham talk about women in property.