London estate agency Benjamin Stephens was started 17 years ago and its founder Steve Wayne say he worked hard to ensure talented women in property within his agency have been rewarded.
Here three of them talk about what it’s been like working in the property industry on International Women’s Day.
Drake has worked in the property industry for over 25 years. She admits that: “In the old days the top positions were always dominated by men”.
In more recent years she has happily seen more and more women rising to the Senior Management level roles.
“In the past there was a need to work that bit harder to prove yourself to ‘the boys club’ in respect of your knowledge and ability,” she says.
“I have myself experienced being treated differently because I’m as a woman – the male tendency in some cases used be to either patronise, sexualise or demonize female colleagues.
“You had to learn how to play the game, utilising their stereotypes to your own advantage to achieve the result you were seeking without demeaning yourself.”
Sally says her strongest piece of advice to any woman within the property industry is to show your strengths by remaining calm no matter what you might be facing.
Associate Director Louise Felman began working with Steve at Benjamin Stevens in 2011 as an office junior while completing her degree. She worked her way up to become Steve’s second in command and ‘right hand woman’.
“I have been able to continue working alongside having my two children and love that I can work flexibly whilst also having time at home,” she says
“I strongly champion working mothers. We have so much to juggle and constantly question whether we are doing all the roles in our lives to the best of our ability. I personally feel that this very struggle makes us that much more organised, efficient and therefore even better at our jobs”
Vekaria has been involved in the property industry for 18 years. She agrees that the industry can be very male dominated but stresses that she has never found this limiting especially when dealing with clients.
“I actually notice people are finding it a pleasant surprise to talk to female agents as when purchasing your ideal home, a woman has 90% of the say,” she says.
Manjula is a Partner Agent under the firm’s Hub model where she works on a self-employed basis which allows her to set her own schedule, and targets with the support and backing of the Benjamin Stevens brand.
“In my opinion the hub model is ideal, particularly but not exclusively for women. It allows anyone looking to progress in the property market to have the flexibility to manage their diary amongst other business and family commitments”.