More women needed at top of estate agencies, says respected industry survey

Although the sector is gender-balanced and has a higher percentage of women at lower levels, this diminishes sharply at senior echelons.

Front over image from The Voice of the Agent survey.

Both the sales and lettings sectors are being blighted by ‘significant gender disparities’ at the most senior levels and need more balanced strategies that can achieve equality, Simon Leadbetter’s The Voice of the Agent Survey reveals today.

The real estate and letting agents survey acknowledges a predominantly male (70%) and middle-aged workforce, heavily skewed towards senior positions (68% in top roles).


The survey reveals: “While the real estate sector is gender-balanced and starts with a higher percentage of women at lower levels, this diminishes sharply at Board level.”

It goes on to say that there is a ‘pressing need for gender balance strategies, fostering gender bilingualism, and the business imperative of achieving equity’.

It adds: “Perceptions of International Women’s Day (IWD) vary between men and women in real estate, underscoring the importance of open discussions to address gender gaps in senior roles.”

The survey also delves into discrimination faced by real estate and letting agents from colleagues and clients – again revealing a significant gender disparity.


Nearly half of all agents reported not experiencing discrimination from colleagues, yet this number was muchhigher for male agents (68%) than female agents (15%).

Gender-based discrimination was the most common form reported, especially among female agents (44%) compared to their male counterparts (5%).

When it came to clients, female agents were significantly more likely to report experiencing gender (71%) and age-based discrimination (29%).

Simon Leadbetter, Unchained
Simon Leadbetter, Unchained

But many agents choose not to take action, with 42% of female agents opting to ignore discriminatory behaviour. Male agents, on the other hand, were more inclined to confront the perpetrator(s) (20%) or remove themselves from the situation (12%).

Simon Leadbetter, Co-founder of Unchained, says: “These responses highlight a potential need for much better support systems and mechanisms within the industry to empower agents, particularly females, to address and report discrimination effectively.

“Ensuring comprehensive support and establishing clear, accessible reporting channels could significantly improve agents’ ability to navigate and challenge discriminatory encounters.”


Elsewhere, in the section focused on mental health in the real estate and letting industry, four out of 10 (42%) agents reported experiencing mental health challenges in the past year, with an even distribution between male (42%) and female (41%) agents. Over half (52%) did not face such challenges, and a small percentage opted not to disclose their mental health status.

The survey also looks at several key trends across the real estate sector including market confidence and outlook; marketing insights; the voice of the customer and proptech and AI utilisation.

Leadbetter adds: “I launched The Voice of the Agent in 2023 out of curiosity. We all know what the loudest voices said in our industry but I wanted to know what the majority thought – the wisdom of the crowd.

“Rather than keep the findings to ourselves, we decided to share the results with everyone so that all of us can have a more informed discussion about the state of our industry.”

Read the full survey HERE.

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