Property woes not behind us if the industry is still dominated by men

Gender imbalance in property industry there in black and white at MediKids event


If last week’s annual Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland dinner is anything to go by, all our property industry woes are behind us. With more than 1,300 people at the Burlo shindig in Dublin, the event bore all the hallmarks of a sector well and truly back on its feet.

So it seems it takes about a decade for an industry to collapse, reinvent itself and recover its mojo. But despite the “learnings”, and all the benefit of hindsight, the industry continues to be almost entirely dominated by men. The dining room of the black-tie event resembled a waddle of penguins, with the occasional female dotted about.

Even after dinner speaker, comedian Ardal O’Hanlon, alluded to the imbalance when he commented on the “mini Hugh Hefners” sitting at every table.

Her comments met a low disgruntled hum from some quarters of the room

Nor did it go unnoticed by the MediKids president, Claire Solon, who in her address pointedly referred to the lack of women at the event, and within the sector. She referenced MediKids research showing a 13 per cent gap between women’s and men’s pay in the sector.

Amazingly, her comments were met with a low disgruntled hum from some quarters of the room. Classy. Blame it on the booze, and a bit of good natured banter on a night out lads, but really? Do you not have daughters who might like to join the industry some day? Can you, hand on heart, say they will be progressed and rewarded at exactly the same rate as their male counterparts?

There’s an opportunity now – beyond the usual optics – for the property industry to properly address equality as it rises from its own ashes.