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The real estate sector is mobilizing to advance parity. It is in this desire that the Cercle des Femmes de l’Immobilier launched a charter for parity in real estate in March 2022. An observatory led by theIEIF gives us a first inventory. The results show that there is still a long way to go!

Women in real estate: a commitment to equality

The real estate industry strives to promote gender equality. It is for this purpose that the Cercle des Femmes de l’Immobilier has developed a charter of commitment in favor of parity and equity in companies in the real estate sector. Thus, more than 120 companies and organizations have accepted the proposals of this Charter. It is based on an in-depth study of the practices of the real estate sector in terms of recruiting and retaining talent.

Indeed, the real estate sector faces a gendered division of labor. Where some occupations are heavily feminized while others are predominantly male. Stereotypes are the main obstacle to overcome in order to achieve gender equality. Added to this is the slowness in adopting changes and little questioning.

“The sector is often described by its own actors as being conservative. This is a set of elements that feed the work of the Observatory and guide it to support companies towards greater parity.” – Isabelle ROSSIGNOL, President of the Observatory of the Charter of Parity in Real Estate.

State of progress for women in real estate

The Observatory wishes to regularly assess the level of parity in organisations. To do this, it commissioned the IEIF to conduct an annual review. the latter incorporates the analysis of the data from the questionnaire and the interviews conducted by the sociologist Chantal Schmitt.

The survey conducted by the Observatory of Parity in Real Estate at the end of 2022 among 87 companies in the real estate world, signatories of the Parity Charter, established an initial inventory.

Their staff is mostly female, with 51.7% of female employees compared to 50% on average in France, all sectors combined. However, this is not the case with directions. Indeed, within the comex-codir, there are on average 3 women for 5.5 men. In addition, we note that 26% of companies have no women in their management bodies.

Share of women in real estate in the top 10 highest earners

Share of women in the top 10 highest earners

Thus, professional equality is slightly below the national average (average Pénicaud index of 84 vs 85 on average in France). But actors are beginning to become aware of the situation of women in real estate. Parity is far from being reached within the 10 highest salaries in companies. Since on average, only 3.4 women are represented, and for some professions, less than 3.

How can this low representation of women in management bodies be explained?

To better understand the issues and identify good practices, sociologist Chantal Schmitt conducted 10 qualitative interviews with business leaders. She thus provided some elements of analysis on the low representation of women in management bodies.

Men’s unconscious biases can be a barrier to women’s professional development. They favor more candidates with similar profiles during promotions. In fact, they recognize more leadership and skills in men.

In addition, during a promotion, the lack of female candidates for certain positions does not encourage the search for women with equal skills. Especially since women can also be held back by their own:

  • lack of desire for promotion,
  • lack of self-confidence,
  • fear of failure,
  • fear that motherhood will hinder their development in the company.

What are the objectives of companies in favor of women in real estate?

Companies are ready to commit to general objectives which concern all employees, men and women, and which are diversified according to their positions. Moreover, some of these measures are already applied in some companies.

For examples:

  • Give fair access to training to men and women,
  • Supporting men and women in their private/professional life balance,
  • Measure hirings and promotions in terms of gender parity, as well as departures and their reasons,
  • Foster a mixed and open recruitment environment,
  • Set remuneration objectively, without taking into account the employee’s gender.

Furthermore, only 20% of companies develop more specific objectives. That is to say, quantifiable objectives with the provision of results. They are therefore mainly aimed at management and executive positions. These objectives require new tools and processes. But, companies do not always have the internal resources to put them in place.

Among these more engaging objectives are:

  • Evaluate managers on parity performance criteria,
  • Recruit or promote 50% women by 2025, in particular to operational positions,
  • Increase the number of women in management positions by 10% per year,
  • Engage in an annual analysis of compensation levels and make the results public,
  • Include women in external professional networks and measure the number of awards obtained.

In conclusion,

The good news is that the parity charter observatory now has a database. In addition, the signing of the Charter should speed up the process for organizations that commit. However, in the medium term, quotas and indicators are essential. The implementation of parity must be practical and lead by example through concrete actions. In addition, sharing experiences and good practices is essential to find solutions.

Access to management positions and the highest salaries is still very unequal between men and women. The most progressive companies are those whose leaders are the most involved. In this way, they communicate their commitment to the entire organization.

In fact, challenges remain, such as dedicating resources specifically to women in real estate. To this end, it is necessary to set quantified objectives, published and which commit managers, as explained by Stéphanie GALIEGUE, Deputy Managing Director in charge of research and studies, IEIF.

Nevertheless, there is progress in terms of promotions and salary increases. Although the situations are very different depending on the profession. However, at this rate, professional equality is still very far off, according to the analyzes of Lina MOUNIR, Head of the Real Estate Markets Division – Senior Analyst, IEIF.

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