‘New pledge is about tackling gender equity’

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Representational photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

The new initiative ‘ pitch pledge’ tackles gender equity in two of the most challenging spots for women in property—capital transactions and leasing

Last month, a coalition of the property sector’s most powerful executives announced a new initiative to ensure women play a meaningful role in significant 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 that the industry adopted in 2015, it aims to build female talent and greater inclusion across both institutional and agency operators in these transactionally-based business areas. The Pledge was unveiled by Chief Executive of CBRE’s Pacific Advisory Business Phil Rowland, Office CEO at Charter Hall Carmel Hourigan, and Head of Real Estate at AMP Capital Kylie O’Connor at the industry’s premier national conference—The Property Congress—in Hobart.

Property Champions of Change Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the GPT Group, Mr Bob Johnston, said the new Pledge tackles gender equity in two of the most challenging spots for women in property—capital transactions and leasing.

“This is a significant move that sends a powerful message to our sector,” Mr Johnston said. “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,” Ms O’Connor said.

Mr Rowland said the Pledge was one plank of a 5-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 a great impact. 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,” Mr Rowland said.

“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”

“Importantly, we are not making this Pledge because it looks or sounds good. It is about both sides of the industry, institutional and agency, coming together to make a difference and accelerate change,” Ms Hourigan said.

“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,” Ms Hourigan said.

The announcement also included a commitment to introduce a new pilot cadetship program in FY23. The program will be for up to 15 women at the beginning of their career, 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 practices in attracting and retaining women in the sector.

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


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