In October 2016 a survey carried out by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that 41% of girls and young women believed gender would count against them during their career.
The Guardian reported that according to the survey “The building industry was singled out by young women as one of the worst offenders that was ripe for change”.
But is this a true reflection of what it’s actually like to be a woman in the world of building surveying?
There can be a perception that women will have a hard time in the industry and will not be valued or paid as much as their male counterparts.
It is true the number of women surveyors is less than it should be – only 13% at the last count, however, for qualified women surveyors there has arguably never been a better time to be in the industry.
1. The industry is diversifying
While 13% may sound like a small percentage of the overall workforce things are rapidly changing. At the end of the 1980s only 3% of qualified surveyors were women, showing how much has changed in such a small space of time. This progress looks set to continue with 27% of surveying students now female.
There is also a concerted effort to diversify across the industry with RICS running a campaign to encourage more women into surveying. Many employers are now actively looking for women to fill posts and develop diversity within their teams.
2. General skills shortage across the industry means you are in demand
Right now is a great time to be a building surveyor regardless of your gender. A shortage of surveyors in the market generally, especially chartered building surveyors, means employers need you to ensure professional instructions and construction/refurb projects are completed to the highest standard. All this means it’s an employee’s market!
With firms fighting over the best talent you are in the perfect position to get your worth whether you happen to be a man or a woman. It has even been suggested that wages in the construction sector could double given the skills shortage.
3. Be a trailblazer
So, things are definitely going in the right direction but no one is denying there is still some way to go. While the industry attempts to attract more female surveyors, you may feel you stand out for a little while yet. However, this can be used to your advantage – getting noticed by the right people can lead to promotion.
Roger Dunning, of specialist recruitment company, HD Surveyors, recently helped a female Senior Building Surveyor land an excellent new position in a multidisciplinary consultancy. She was the first woman in their Surveying team.
He said: “She has great experience and great focus and motivation toward her work. Her attitude and aptitude for the job allowed her to progress quickly and made her a great prospect for her new company.”
4. Surveying is actually ahead of the game when it comes to bridging the pay gap
In terms of the gender pay gap, construction is doing better than real estate, hospitality and transport sectors. The even better news is that chartered surveyors are doing best of all! They are the only profession where women are actually earning more than men.
Roger Dunning agrees that contrary to popular belief women surveyors can earn more than men. The woman he recently placed is earning more than the men in the same company.
He said: “It’s all to do with her skill-set and experience. My example shows that women are not being paid less – she is the first woman Surveyor in the company and is actually paid more than her male colleagues because of her experience. The fact there is a shortage generally means people, whether male or female are in a great position to achieve their worth from employers”.
Your next step
So if you have been thinking about progressing your career and taking the next step, now could be the perfect time to make a move. To take the first step and see what is available search our jobs or contact Roger to discuss your individual position – [email protected]rs.com – 01243 933 263