New Zealand's property sector failing in gender diversity

By Helen Adams
A report from New Zealand's property sector has shown that there are less women in senior roles - yet leaders are keen to diversify

A report from Property Council New Zealand has shown that there are far less women working in senior roles. 

In New Zealand, the property industry is responsible for 9% of New Zealand’s workforce and contributes more than NZ$40bn to GDP.


Gender diversity and affordability are problems in the property sector

On average across the surveyed property sector, workplaces are 41% female; this is good – a gender balance requires minimum 40% both male and female. 

When looking at Senior Management and Board level, representation of women is less than 30%.

Property Council New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Leonie Freeman, aims to change this disparity.

“As New Zealand’s largest industry, any positive shift we can make to the gender diversity balance is likely to have a significant impact”, said Freeman. “The property industry is literally building New Zealand’s future, but it has a way to go to reflect the diversity of that future. Businesses generally are not bringing a broad enough range of people into senior leadership roles and taking advantage of their wider skills and knowledge.”

This news comes at a time when New Zealand is experiencing a housing crisis, impacting first home buyers and low income earners:

  • A 90% rise in house prices from the preceding decade
  • The median house price in Auckland has increased by 25% from last year
  • As a result, 23,000 individuals and families are living in emergency accommodation and are waiting for public housing


Building a diverse and inclusive culture in the property sector

There are 24 founding partners in the Property Council and other business leaders agree diversity needs to be encouraged.

“I would encourage everyone to stop and think about the barriers to having greater diversity in our industry, a diversity that should reflect the communities we are creating”,  said John Dakin, Goodman CEO. “Consider your own bias, be it conscious or unconscious and we will create a far more vibrant and productive property sector.”

“Small initiatives can make a big impact”, said Kiwi Property’s Kylie Eagle. “Pick a couple of meaningful initiatives appropriate to your business and you’re on the road to a more diverse and inclusive culture."


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