Gender gap

Bridging the gender gap

Attributed to : Angeline Ding, Senior Realtor at PropNex Singapore

Gender gap

Starting a career as a woman in the real estate world is not a hard thing to do. This is because the job of a real estate agent or realtor is flexible and ensures good remunerations. Women generally seem to have a never-ending list of responsibilities. We have big shoes to fill as we are seen as the homemaker and caretaker of the family, as well as mothers who are in charge of their little ones. Despite all of that, women in the 20th century can successfully balance their home life as well as their careers. In many cases, women are the main breadwinner of the family, and in other cases, women are contributing to the household income.

Women make up 48% of realtors in Singapore while the rest are male. This figure is consistent from 2017 until 2021. Seeing that there is almost an equal number of women in the real estate industry as there are men, this seems to be a healthy situation. Women perhaps are attracted to being realtors since it allows for a flexible schedule and many women prefer to be realtors on a part-time basis.

Selling luxurious homes does come with its benefits, one of them is getting to work with beautiful homes and connecting with potential buyers. A woman’s natural intuition of being able to pinpoint whether a buyer is excited or reluctant when looking at a house is a plus point. Most successful realtors are able to show empathy. When a high-value deal is closed, a woman will gain a confidence boost and it increases her self esteem. Additionally, being able to earn a reasonably good income while having the flexibility to send her kids to school and be a full-time mother is an incomparable advantage to have. 

However, out of the 48% of women realtors in Singapore, only a few of them ever hold a leadership role in their careers. From my perspective, there are a few reasons as to why there is a lack of women leaders. One reason is that when men are given the opportunity for C-suite promotions, they just dive in. However, a woman may take longer to decide, since women, in general, have so many other factors to consider. I suppose women need to trust themselves more so that they can take the leap. They need to learn to utilise their skills and experience so that they can excel at being leaders in the industry. 

Another factor is perhaps real estate companies can encourage women to take on leadership roles. In this way, capable women can be role models for younger women. In time we will see more women in managerial positions. The reason many women cannot fill the leadership roles is that the job is demanding. And there is close to no flexibility given to top positions, however, we notice that the pandemic has proven that via the use of technology, it is possible to have flexible working hours to work remotely. It has also been proven to be cost-effective. Companies should consider allowing flexible hours and more freedom to those in managerial positions so that they can lead their remote teams.

With regards to diversity, equity and inclusion, the real estate industry seem to be adopting this culture. Mutual respect helps everyone share ideas no matter their gender, age, race, or other characteristics. An awareness of this can be implemented at the entry-level of the organisation. It can be followed through with a continuous loop of learning that can carry on throughout the year. As more role models support diversity, equity and inclusion in the organisation, others will become more confident and realise that certain goals are attainable. Policies such as paternity leave and child-care provision are really beneficial as well.

Leaders in the real estate industry who are mostly made of men can be supportive of their women counterparts.  allies These men do exist and they often give credit to women where it’s due. Honest and open communication between men and women can help clear up any incorrect assumptions and make equality more acceptable at the top management levels. In this way, women are able to take on higher and more responsible roles in the organisation and fulfil what is expected of them. Supportive men are aware of the struggles women face at the workplace and they are willing to participate in inequality discussions. Some of them tweet or share articles about equality and diversity, and this is much appreciated.

Having said all that, being a woman in the real estate industry can be really rewarding. The satisfaction that comes from helping people realise their dream of owning a little piece of the world is amazing. Watching someone take a piece of property and turn it into a home is truly exciting. Real estate brings stability not only to the family unit but to the whole financial industry. As women, we can further contribute and gain a lot from the real estate industry.

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