This International Women’s Day’s theme ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’ has great relevance for the real estate sector. As more women are increasingly brought into the fold, technology gives them the power to navigate the industry and the challenges that come with it. The present scenario in the economy is one that is increasingly dependent on digital advances and we have to be abreast with these in order to not only take macro decisions but also to take on micro roles. Familiarisation with technology and skills will propel greater equality in the workplace and the real estate industry is no exception.
Today, the real estate industry has evolved to become one that sees women in leadership roles and sees them as decision makers. Women possess compassion, focus, multitasking ability and assertiveness that are all necessary in this industry, and are the reasons why women can be the torchbearers of positive impact for real estate.
After agriculture, real estate is the largest employer and for a very long time, women have been underrepresented in the sector. However, in recent times, the real estate industry has evolved to widen its acceptance of women across various verticals. According to research conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), women make up for 56 percent of licensed brokers, 63 percent of full-time sales agents and 69 percent of part-time agents in the real estate domain.
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Technology has also played an important role in the evolution of real estate, providing the industry with tools to plan, manage and execute. By nature, women are quick to adopt new technology and seamlessly integrate it into their routine. This is a huge plus for real estate firms with women leaders as this then spreads across the organisation. Technology has been a game changer for the industry both by way of simplifying processes and enhancing accountability. Above all, technology has changed the way we market our products, be it the way we craft our communications, reach out to larger audiences, source leads or interact with customers. One of the biggest areas where technology is crucial today is in designing customer experiences, be it 4D or AI supported walkthroughs, showcasing floor plans and specifications or even the entire rental or sales execution process.
A recent trend that has been a pleasant change is the fact that women are increasingly becoming primary home buyers. This is a direct result of women today using technology to be more aware, be more financially independent and be professionally secure. This is clearly a break from the past where one would see only the men being primary home buyers or decision makers. Digitalization has enabled them to conduct their research on projects, become aware of the various options they have and aided in quicker decision making.
If we take a closer look at the industry, we see that women are not only agents or homebuyers, but developers as well – they play a bigger role in determining the type of real estate that should be developed. It is often noticed that women in leadership positions are the changemakers driving technology adoption across various divisions within a company. Be it the way projects are marketed today or the way customer interactions are carried out or the way construction and delivery timelines are planned, technology has played a huge role in implementing systems and efficiency. While the real estate industry has turned a new leaf by welcoming and encouraging women in the workforce, we definitely need to see more women taking up leadership roles in the times to come.
In conclusion one can say that as India enters a new era of economic growth, the Indian real estate sector, currently making up 7% of the GDP has a positive outlook and is set to increase to 13% by 2025. As per a recent report, there is evidence of a wide gap in gender participation in the real estate industry as only 7 million women in India are employed in the sector as compared to 50 million men. However, it is clear that the industry has opened its doors and is encouraging gender diversification at a rapid pace. If you take a look at the past 5 years one can see a phenomenal change which in my opinion has only propelled the industry further. From property consultants, channel partners and agents, to leading multinational real estate development firms, women are leading the Indian realty sector to scale new heights. Dynamic and adaptable, the sector has exhibited a strong growth trend that has gained immensely from the role women play in real estate and as we step ahead, we can see a win-win scenario for both.
(By Anjana Sastri, Director – Marketing, Sterling Developers)