Business

Surveying making strives on diversity - but still much to do

Local surveying professional Carolyn Brady was crowned Surveyor of the Year at the RICS Matrics Surveyor Awards, which recognise the most inspiring and influential surveyors who have been qualified for up to 10 years
Local surveying professional Carolyn Brady was crowned Surveyor of the Year at the RICS Matrics Surveyor Awards, which recognise the most inspiring and influential surveyors who have been qualified for up to 10 years Local surveying professional Carolyn Brady was crowned Surveyor of the Year at the RICS Matrics Surveyor Awards, which recognise the most inspiring and influential surveyors who have been qualified for up to 10 years

WOMEN represent just 18% of Rics members around the world across 23 pathways. Our industries have made some strides with gender diversity, however, there is clearly still progress to be made.

Putting diversity, equality and inclusion at the heart of decision making will be an important part of what Rics does in the years ahead.

There is still a long way to go in transforming the culture of the profession so that women are not only represented across all levels of organisations, but so they have equitable support, opportunities and pay. We need to identify what Rics can do to encourage and inspire more women to apply for chartership and fellowship, consequently serving as role models within the profession.

With robust diversity, equality and inclusion strategies in place with clear benchmarks and targets, alongside a strong stance from leaders to advance inclusion for women surveyors, we can continue to make progress.

It was extremely encouraging to see that Carolyn Brady, a young woman from Lurgan, won Rics UK Matrics Surveyor of the Year 2023 as well as winning Building Surveyor/Control Surveyor of the Year.

Carolyn was one of five women on the list of 11 category winners in a year when female professionals represented just under 45% of those short-listed, despite making up just 18% of UK surveyors.

The number of women short-listed this year was 150% higher than in 2018, and 350% higher than in the award’s inaugural year in 2014; an increase that has happened in a period when representation of women in the industry has become much stronger with many more female role models.

So, while progress has been slow, there is hope for the future. And especially with role models like Carolyn and others.

Last year at the Rics UK Awards, which are returning in 2024, we saw Belfast-based chartered surveyor Diana Fitzsimons awarded the inaugural lifetime achievement award. Diana, who has served as Rics NI Chair, was recognised for her distinguished career across the public, private and voluntary sectors. Clearly Diana is at another stage of her career than Carolyn, but she is also a fantastic role model. And we need more of them.

Women play such a vital role in surveying. And more women coming into the profession will only help with the skills shortages that everyone in the sector is well aware of.

With robust diversity, equality and inclusion strategies in place with clear benchmarks and targets, alongside a strong stance from leaders to advance inclusion for women surveyors, we can continue to make progress.

:: Dr Sharon McClements is construction and infrastructure spokesperson in Northern Ireland for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), which promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure