A survey carried out by YouGov, on behalf of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), asked young women aged between 13 and 22 about their perceptions of gender equality in the workplace.
Aside from singling out property and construction as the least gender diverse sectors, 41% of respondents believed being a woman would hold them back in any workplace. Despite seeing their gender as obstacle to equal treatment, 43% said having a female Prime Minister or President would encourage gender diversity at work.
Of those surveyed, 73% thought that the attitudes and behaviour of chief executives and senior leaders were important in encouraging equal numbers of men and women.
Amanda Clack, RICS President, said: “Speaking as a woman in construction, I can say with confidence that this is not just a job for boys; however, the need for diversity at the very top is clear. When I first entered the profession there were no strong female role models. Yet, according to our survey, a quarter of young women believe they will do better under the leadership of a female CEO and they want to see visible female role models.”
Clack said strong female roles models would help to attract greater diversity into the industry. “With a female Prime Minister in the UK and a woman in the running for the US Presidency, we are seeing great female role models at the very highest levels,” she added.
RICS CEO Sean Tompkins said he was committed to tackling the diversity issues facing his sector.
He said: “As an international organisation that sets and enforces the standards that bring confidence to land, property, infrastructure and construction, RICS has a clear duty as a responsible leader.
“Such responsibility extends to the industry and our profession, it’s overall diversity and inclusiveness and how it will be judged by generations to come,” he added.
Tompkins said as part of his pledge to encourage gender equality, he would question any invitation to sit on a male-only panel at conferences and events, and urged other leaders to consider doing the same.
In June, RICS published a charter, Inclusive Employer Quality Mark (IEQM), to reward and share best practice in workplaces.