Today is International Women’s Day 2018, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide. With a growing focus on gender equality, it’s vital to recognise the importance of influential women in the traditionally male-dominated property industry.
According to Women in Property, only 15% of the property and construction industry workforce is currently represented by women, but many are now driving for change in the sector. The government, alongside higher education centres and industry employers, have been trying to balance the gap, while a recent study by UBS found that investors who backed gender-diverse portfolios stood to make greater returns than those who disregarded gender.
By 2020, the number of women in the workforce across the sector is expected to reach more than 25%, which is a step in the right direction towards increasing gender diversity and removing the stereotypes in the industry.
At the helm
One influential female leader in the property industry is Caroline Marshall-Roberts, founder and CEO of BuyAssociation. The international investment company has a multi-million-pound turnover, with offices in both the UK and Hong Kong, and has won numerous awards over the past decade while being led by Caroline.
In recognition of her success working at the helm of the business, she received a letter from David Cameron, then Prime Minister, in 2015 informing her that she was being included in the Fortuna 50 Index of the UK’s fastest growing female-led small businesses.
“This is the first year that the Fortuna 50 Index has been compiled and it is a testament to your hard work and determination that your business is being recognised in the inaugural edition,” the letter stated.
“The Fortuna 50 Index highlights the variety and diversity of successful businesses that are being run by women, inspiring others to do the same. I hope that by showcasing your success other women who are thinking about starting a business will have the confidence to turn their ideas into reality.”
Caroline was the only member on the Fortuna 50 list to be based in Manchester, a key city for major property industry growth at the moment. Later this month, BuyAssociation will be one of the partners of the Manchester at MIPIM pavilion at the annual international property show in Cannes.
The story behind how Caroline achieved her success was featured in a recent book, Secret Skill, Hidden Career: The surprising link between sales ability and your career success, by Paul Owen, which contains interviews with Caroline as well as 15 other business leaders.
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The book reveals that, contrary to the conventional school to university route taken by many, Caroline left school at the age of 16 and was told by her parents that she would never amount to anything… Determined to succeed and prove them wrong, she got her first sales job aged 18, at Exchange & Mart magazine, and within a short amount of time she was excelling, winning numerous top sales performance certificates, and her confidence quickly grew.
By the age of 24, she was a member of the senior management team at publishing company LOOT, and was then headhunted by Capital Radio where she worked as a senior sales executive and went on to win a number of sales awards for outstanding achievement. Now the chief executive officer of her own property investment consultancy BuyAssociation, Caroline is one of less than 10% of women who hold CEO positions in the industry.
As International Women’s Day is a day of recognition for women across the world, it is important to applaud those who bring value to the property industry and pave the way for others.