04 May 2017
There are few industries today that have seen a dramatic change in the role that women play, and history has demonstrated well the achievements that women have made in the real estate market in Hong Kong. In real estate's early days, women filled office and clerical roles, but by the 1980s to 1990s, women were already moving into the roles of property agent and broker, though at a relatively slow rate. And in recent years, we have seen a significant increase of female leaders in the industry.
Looking back at the past 10 years of Hong Kong's real estate development, the market has crossed an inflexion point today. A series of events, like the inflow of Chinese outbound capital, revitalisation of industrial buildings and energising Kowloon East, have overturned people's understanding of the real estate market. And sequentially, a huge number of opportunities were created and attracted more people to join the agency world.
According to the statistical figures from Estate Agents Authority, the number of female agents in the commercial real estate is currently higher than ever. The number of female agents increased substantially at around 35% from 2012-16, although meanwhile the ratio of female agents over the total number of agents dropped from 36% to 31%.
In the real estate industry, the most frequently cited drivers for women’s participation in agencies was not only the economic need but also the career achievement. The strong supply in Kowloon East, the decentralisation of the law firms in Central and connecting Wong Chuk Hang to the core-CBD in Hong Kong...all the topics mentioned above were the hottest topics in real estate industry and they represented the tremendous opportunities for real estate agencies to make more businesses. The agency business indeed satisfies the economic need of women to a certain extent. On the other hand, the strong market growth has also provided more rooms for women to elevate their career achievement and enter the management level of an agency firm. According to an informal research of the number of executives among the Top 5 real estate consultancy firms in Hong Kong, the ratio of female in executive position were from 21% to 33% (Colliers International ranked the 2nd place with 32% of female executives). But surely, consistent career achievement comes from nowhere but persistent hard work and effort. No pain, no gain; we all have to pay the cost for a great return. The cost could be the time for entertainment, family and friends gathering or sleeping, but like everybody else we have to find out the balance among work, family and life.
I believe that there will be more and more women joining the real estate industry for the property agency services either in office, residential or retail. The uniqueness of the female characteristics would provide thoughtful, warm and approachable services to the clients, and it also could be the advantages for women in making decisions on their business and helping them get into the top management.