'Girls in Property' paves the way for greater diversity in WA’s property industry

Property Council of Australia’s Girls in Property program launches in Western Australia next week – with a goal of encouraging greater female participation in the state’s property industry.

52 female Year 9 students from Shenton College will take part in the 2018 Western Australian Girls in Property program being held on Wednesday 10 October at Curtin University.

The program will be delivered across a full day with a focus on students understanding the tangible opportunities of the property industry through a hands-on experience model, including afternoon site tours at Construction Futures Centre in Belmont and The State Buildings in Perth city.

The program will give the students an opportunity to hear first-hand from, and connect with inspirational and talented professionals in the property industry, including some of the best and brightest women working across both the private and public sectors.

Property Council of Australia WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said: “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.”

“As public debate circles around greater female representation in male dominated industries, the Property Council of Australia’s diversity programs and initiatives aim to proactively provide direction for the next generation of female property professionals,” Ms Brewer said.

Property Council of Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Ken Morrison says highlighting strong support for emerging female professionals is pivotal to achieving gender diversity in the property industry.

“There are a thousand different jobs you can do in the property industry, often people say it’s a career they’ve fallen into – we want to make property a career of choice. It’s exciting, it’s dynamic, meaningful – you’re involved in creating communities for future generations,” Mr Morrison said.

“What our Girls in Property program aims to do is raise awareness among high school students of the raft of career paths the property industry offers.”

The program allows high school students to learn about various career opportunities, hear from property experts and make valuable connections with property industry professionals.

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.

Quotes attributable

Prue Cunningham, Development Manager Commercial Property | Stockland 

“Property is such an exciting and diverse industry – it’s time we reflected that diversity in our workforce. Encouraging girls to consider a career in property is an excellent step in tackling diversity more widely. I have no doubt that it will lead to innovation in the way that we problem solve.”

“I think choosing a career path at such a young age is daunting. I hope that the students leave the day understanding that their career is a journey, not a destination, that it will take lots of unplanned twists and turns, and that maintaining momentum can be just as important as making exactly the ‘right’ decision.”

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to talk to girls about this great industry. Hopefully we arm the girls with plenty of interesting and enticing information to base their career decisions on!”

Why do you think women can be reluctant to approach a career in property?
“I think it’s probably a numbers thing – we don’t see as many women in the property industry to model ourselves on. Women also often deal with situations differently, and so we’re sometimes perceived as being less capable, when really, we’re just cracking the same nut in a different way. I’ve had amazing male bosses, mentors and sponsors my whole career. They’ve backed me when I wasn’t quite ready to back myself and pushed me to challenge myself and grow.”

Ray Haeren, Regional Director | Urbis

“The Girls in Property program is important for the industry and for the participants. As an industry we need more women in the property sector to provide better diversity and to benefit from the large pool of talent that is currently underrepresented in the property sector. It is good for participants in that the property sector is dynamic and diverse, and we can introduce these girls into a sector which offers great career potential.”

“I hope that the participants will see the diverse range of roles and the exciting opportunities that are afforded by the property sector. I hope that some may consider options for a career that they previously did not know existed or understand that gender is not a barrier to getting into this industry.”

“Things are changing – however this sector has been traditionally dominated by men and I think perceptions still exist. Perceptions can make it less attractive for women to consider a career. I know that when I started in the industry most project meetings and industry leaders were men in suits.”

“As the father of a daughter and an Opa to her daughter, I see it as essential for men in senior and leadership roles to demonstrate commitment to diversity and promote opportunities for women in our sector. I have been a champion of change in my own business and would like to see greater diversity in the property sector, which has a long tradition of male dominance. Diversity of perspectives and style will make us more robust and reflective of the communities for which we plan and develop.”