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Gender Diversity Lagging In New Zealand’s Biggest Industry, Reports The Property Council

A report into gender diversity within the property sector has found the number of women working in property decreases as they move up the leadership hierarchy, highlighting a power gap between the females and males, says Property Council New Zealand chief executive Leonie Freeman.

On average across the surveyed property sector, workplaces are 41% female; this is good – a gender balance requires minimum 40% both male and female. However, this number is skewed by the larger proportion of women in non-management roles in these workplaces. When looking at Senior Management and Board level, representation of women is less than 30%.

The report was commissioned by the Property Council and is the first of its kind in New Zealand looking specifically into gender diversity within the property sector.

“As New Zealand’s largest industry, any positive shift we can make to the gender diversity balance is likely to have a significant impact,” says Freeman.

The property industry in New Zealand contributes over $40 billion to GDP and comprises 15% of all economic activity in the country.

Freeman says, “the property industry is literally building New Zealand’s future, but it has a way to go to reflect the diversity of that future. Business generally are not bringing a broad enough range of people into senior leadership roles and taking advantage of their wider skills and knowledge.”

Other business leaders among the Property Council’s 24 founding partners agree.

Goodman CEO John Dakin adds “I would encourage everyone to stop and think about the barriers to having greater diversity in our industry, a diversity that should reflect the communities we are creating. Consider your own bias, be it conscious or unconscious and we will create a far more vibrant and productive property sector.”

“Small initiatives can make a big impact,” says Kiwi Property’s Kylie Eagle; “pick a couple of meaningful initiatives appropriate to your business, and you’re on the road to a more diverse and inclusive culture.”

Property Council New Zealand has launched a new campaign, ‘A Place For Everyone’, as part of an ongoing initiative to improve diversity in the property sector. It also hopes this new report will provide a benchmark for further research, and more importantly faster progress with developing diversity in New Zealand’s largest industry.

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