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New pact to increase women in property ‘tough spots’

A coalition of the property sector’s most powerful executives has announced a new initiative designed to ensure women play a meaningful role in major leasing and capital transaction assignments.

The ‘Pitch Pledge’, developed by the Property Champions of Change, aims to ensure at least one woman is part of the bid and receiving teams on both sides of any transaction.

Like the ‘Panel Pledge’ the industry adopted in 2015, it is aimed at building female talent and greater inclusion across both institutional and agency operators in transactionally-based business areas.

The pledge was unveiled by Chief Executive of CBRE’s Pacific Advisory Business Phil Rowland, Office Chief Executive Officer at Charter Hall Carmel Hourigan, and Head of Real Estate at AMP Capital Kylie O’Connor at the industry’s premiere national conference – The Property Congress – in Hobart this week.

Property Champions of Change Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the GPT Group Bob Johnston said the new pledge is about tackling gender equity in two of the toughest spots for women in property – capital transactions and leasing.

“This is a significant move that sends a very strong message to our sector,” Mr Johnston said.

Ms O’Connor said needed to work together to create greater equality.

“So often at the moment, major deals in property take place without any women on either side of the table, and if we are to change that, we must collectively act,” she said.

Mr Rowland said the pledge was one plank of a five point plan to help women participate, grow and develop in two of the property industry’s most male-dominated areas.

“Pledges from senior leaders, like this, have the potential to have great impact,” Mr Rowland said.

“Here we have some of our industry’s most powerful figures – chief executives and managing partners – saying we are taking a stand to improve our talent pipelines and the career prospects for women.”

Ms Hourigan said the Pitch Pledge was the start of creating more opportunities for women and the wider industry.

“Importantly, we are not making this pledge because it looks or sounds good,” she said.

“It is about both sides of the industry, institutional and agency, coming together to make a difference and accelerate change.

“We understand that given the current low representation of women in some existing capital transaction and leasing teams, there won’t always be a woman in the room right now. But this new pledge aims to change that picture over time in a collaborative way.

“If that situation emerges, it is up to the participants to ask the tough questions about why, and what steps we are taking to ensure women are part of the business to come.”

The announcement also included a commitment to introduce a new pilot cadetship program in financial year 2023 for up to 15 women at the beginning of their career, who will be specifically placed in capital markets and commercial leasing teams in Property Champions of Change organisations.

The Champions of Change Property Group has also developed a remuneration toolkit to support best practice in the attraction and retention of women in the sector.

The Property Champions of Change is an initiative of the Property Council of Australia and the Champions of Change Coalition established in 2015 to increase the number of women in leadership roles within the property industry.

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