Momentum driving better diversity in property industry

The drive to improve diversity in the property industry is gaining huge momentum and delivering long-lasting change, according to the Property Council of Australia.

Acknowledging that despite the gains made to date there is still more work to do, Chief Operating Officer Kathy Mac Dermott said the industry was firmly on the path to locking in diversity as a core operating principle.

“Property is now the biggest employing industry in Australia, that means we have a serious responsibility and leadership role to play in delivering on diversity,” Ms Mac Dermott said.

“Over the last few years we, as an industry, have really increased our efforts. The Property Council has established a broad range of practical tools, resources and initiatives to promote diversity and these have been embraced by our members.

“Diversity is increasingly accepted as a core principle, for staff, leaders and companies alike.

“We’ve seen industry commit to diversity and take action to deliver it, whether that be by taking the panel pledge, championing a female colleague through our Women in Property program or 21 of our leaders making a personal and public commitment through the Property Male Champions of Change (PMCC), now commencing its fourth year of work.

“The response to the diversity programs we have established speaks for itself.

“Our 100 Women in Property, first established in 2016 has in just two years grown to become 500 Women in Property in response to the surge in demand. The sponsorship initiative involves 500 of our emerging women leaders and another 500 sponsors committed to championing their participant.

“The Girls in Property program that we piloted in NSW last year, in partnership with the Department of Education was a resounding success. We are currently building a national rollout to increase the awareness of the career opportunities in the property market before they make their senior elective choices.

“And we are meeting our own 40:40:20 targets for Property Council Committees and seeking to extend this into other areas such as event attendance. Balanced panels are critically important but diversity in the audience is also key.

“Importantly, we have committed to transparent measurement and accounting of our progress.

“The 2016-17 Property Male Champions of Change Progress Report revealed that all PMCC organisations have now adopted formal flexible work policies or strategies, and 75% of PMCC organisations have achieved balance or progress towards balance in the percentage of women in Key Management Personnel.

“Member companies are also implementing their own initiatives, such as improved parental leave arrangements and it is encouraging to see so many now being recognised by the WGEA.

“The number of PMCC organisations with formal flexible work policies or strategies increased from 74% to 100% in twelve months.

“We saw 75% of PMCC organisations conduct a pay equity review in the 24 months to July 2017, with all PMCCs committed to conducting a review every two years. This is an area where we can improve further and the review is an important step to closing the gender pay gap.

“In the past two years the 21 PMCC organisations have, on average, increased their achievement of gender balance (defined by the WGEA as 40 – 60% women) from 22.1 to 30 per cent of leadership categories, demonstrating solid progress towards achieving genuine diversity. In addition, they have achieved progress towards balance in a further 41% of leadership categories.

“These figures show that we are not there yet – more work needs to be done to ensure we achieve our gender diversity commitments right across the industry, but the progress to date is encouraging.”

Source: Property Council of Australia

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