Industry leaders inspire female students to consider property a career of choice

The Property Council of Australia is celebrating recent success in launching its diversity-driven Girls in Property program in Western Australia.

54 Year 9 girls from Shenton College took part in the full day program held on 10 October at Curtin University, followed by site tours at Construction Futures Centre in Belmont and the State Buildings in Perth city.

The students heard first-hand from inspiring industry leading women who shared real-life, relatable career experiences – highlighting potential opportunities to consider when selecting subjects for their senior years in high school to support their career path.

Property Council of Australia WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said: “The Girls in Property program has been designed to encourage greater female participation in the state’s property industry – which often faces scrutiny for being too male-dominated.”

“With the property industry being Australia’s biggest employer, taking action to engage with tomorrow’s professionals today is an important initiative for the Property Council of Australia and the Girls in Property program supporters” Ms Brewer said.

Girls in Property is one of the Property Council of Australia’s many diversity initiatives. Girls in Property involves reaching out to students before they forge their careers, to help create a sustainable pipeline of talent for the growing property industry,” she said.

“Our Girls in Property program rollout in WA was a huge success. The students connected with inspirational and talented professionals in the property industry, at different stages in their careers within both the private and public sectors, which really added a layer of relatability to the program and allowed the students to ask questions and forge long-lasting connections with our mentors.

“One of the main themes that came out of the day was that with greater diversity in the property industry, we can only achieve better outcomes in creating the places and spaces where we live, work and play – as both men and women bring a different perspective in designing and shaping property.”

A myriad of professionals from across the property industry volunteered their time and resources to support the program and be a part of the WA launch of Girls in Property, including representatives from Stockland, Blackburne, Urbis, EY, Primewest, Savills, ISPT, Iris Residential, Property Education Foundation, Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, FJM Property, Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, Norman Disney & Young, CBRE, Knight Frank, Lendlease, COMO The Treasury, JLL, Mirvac, APP Corporation and Gough Recruitment.

Shenton College High School Teacher Kshamta Trisal said the Girls in Property program gave the students tangible examples they could learn from and consider for their future careers.

“It’s a very good idea for students to go out and experience all the opportunities available to them. Programs like Girls in Property actually give them great exposure to unique, dynamic experiences they have never been exposed to previously – learning is no longer limited to the confines of a classroom,” Ms Trisal said.

“It’s rewarding to see their expressions as they’re saying “oh I didn’t realise I could do this, I didn’t realise this was connected with property” – because when you’re talking about property, you’re thinking of building houses or construction. What the students learnt is that career opportunities in property are diverse and abundant in the form of estimators, architects, civil engineers, financial planners to interior designers. The girls weren't able to relate to that before, so it has been an eye-opening day,” she said.

“In Perth, there is so much development going on and with so much infrastructure being developed – there are so many job opportunities being created in these areas.

“I cannot thank Property Council of Australia enough. By doing these kinds of programs we are planting that seed in their brain, so it's acting as a catalyst for conversations surrounding potential career options.”

Shenton College Year 9 student Isabelle participated in the program and said: “There are definitely a lot of careers in property that I didn’t even know existed before today.”

“I would consider a career in property now because the jobs are really interesting and more hands-on than other jobs and that really appeals to me,” she said.

“I think that at the moment it’s very normalised for men to have a job in the property industry so to have more women working in the industry would be great.

“The Girls in Property program opens more opportunities for students like me to find out about jobs that might suit them that they didn’t know about before – and it’s just a great experience to be a part of.”

Shenton College Year 9 Girls in Property participant Ankita said: “Today was a really enriching experience. It’s good for girls to get involved in the property industry as it will help to equalise the workforce.”

“There are a lot of jobs offered in the property industry that I didn’t know about. I only knew about architecture and interior design, but I found out there is a lot more involved and that there should be more women in the industry,” she said.

“I was always considering a career in interior design but being a part of Girls in Property today has made me want to do it even more.”

The Property Council of Australia hopes the Girls in Property initiative will assist more young women to choose a career in property, by showing them the full range of options that are available and how rewarding working in the property industry can be.

The Property Council of Australia is committed to diversity, and this year, the WA division is led by women for the first time in the history of the Property Council in WA, with President Tanya Trevisan, Executive Director Sandra Brewer and Deputy Executive Director Emma Thunder at its helm.

Further quotes attributable

Karen Dill-Macky, Partner, Indirect Tax | EY

“The Property industry provides such a wide variety of career opportunities which is often overlooked by just looking at a particular role. Projects in property require teamwork, innovation and an understanding of where we will all be in the future. So, when you are looking at a career, a broader understanding of how you can contribute to the community should be something you consider early in your education. The Girls in Property program gives girls an opportunity to see the bigger picture, to consider where they want to develop and understand how to get involved. This program provides information about where they can go and listen to real people who love what they do and understand a little more about why.”

“Traditionally we tend to think of property as construction, engineering and architecture – it is so much more than that. We also tend to see these roles as being dominated by males, but this is changing – I really believe these are perceptions rather than reality. There are really talented women in the industry – they are just harder to see. The property industry can offer a lifelong learning experience and challenging surroundings. This is a great time to be involved in the industry as it is genuinely changing those perceptions and can offer a really fulfilling career path. You just need to give it a go.”

“I hope the girls walk away with a ‘wow’ factor – “I want to be involved. I want to be part of a something where I can develop and contribute to our community”. I hope this will help them decide what subjects to continue to study as they have a longer-term plan of where they want to be, and also have some contacts they can access to ask about how to get there.”

“Even today I can still remember how daunting it was to choose subjects and think about what I would do in the longer term. The choices made available to me were traditionally nursing and teaching and whilst they are important careers in our communities, there are so many different choices now. That too can be confusing but if you can put these choices into real engagements it can help reduce the confusion and help find something you want to be a part of.  I want to show what those choices can be and make it real and this program does that.”