Akhilesh K Prasad
In the words of American poet Ntozake Sahnge, “Where there is woman, there is magic.” Industries such as airlines, hotels, fashion, films, food, education and interior designing have a first mover’s advantage when it comes to employing women. Women have found active employment in banking, finance, medical, politics and administration as well.
On the contrary, the real estate industry has traditionally been male dominated due the perception that it is a tough industry to work in. It involves a lot of physical hard work, long hours at sites, dealing with contractors and workers and a lot of travel. It also comes with its own bag of inherent malpractices and malice and is therefore associated with male traits such as strength, aggression and survival. However, there is a flipside to the real estate industry in so much as it is artistic and buying a house intrinsically involves emotional appeal.
With growth, the real estate sector has become organised. International penetration in the market has increased service offerings. Limiting the sector to one gender has become an impediment in taking the industry forward. Need for more talent has prompted the inclusion of women into the sector.
On the supply side, women have also started viewing the real estate sector as a veritable employment option primarily due to two reasons. Firstly, in order to enhance their careers and become financially independent. Secondly, because it comes naturally to them to help other women find a home.
Research has found that companies with a higher percentage of women in top management perform better. At the entry and the administrative level, there are many women in the sector presently. But as we go up the ladder, their ratio becomes thinner. Only women who are seriously ambitious, talented and aspire for growth are the ones who make it to the top.
Women are better at managing client relationships due to their innate qualities of empathy and persistence. They tend to be more nurturing, sensitive and patient towards the client’s needs and have a more balanced and dispassionate outlook towards business. Because they regularly manage household and business simultaneously, women develop a natural flair for multi-tasking.
Internationally, according to NAR, 58% of all real estate agents are women. In India, that figure still seems a distant reality, but the ratio of women in the real estate business in surely and steadily picking up.
This change can be attributed to the fact that the number of women in the urban workforce is increasing with development of the Indian economy. According to statistics, women comprised 16.2% of the urban workforce in 2015-16. Financially independent women tend to have a greater say in the decision making process of the family. Even single women are beginning to look for their own homes. In such a scenario, it is quite likely that more women agents will be required in the market to service the growing number of women customers.