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News & opinion

11 JUL 2019

Encouraging diversity in RICS Fellows

2019 has seen the largest increase in women becoming Fellows of RICS - a mark of their significant career achievements, expertise and passion for developing the industry – but only 4% of female chartered surveyors in the UK are RICS Fellows.

Regional RICS Board member, Gaynor Craigie, Manager of Land and Property at Yorkshire Water is one of few women in the industry that has been recognised with RICS Fellowship status for her commitment to inspiring the next generation, helping peers to develop and progress and her extensive technical experience in managing large multi-function estates.

Here, she tells us more about how she overcame barriers to achieve RICS Fellowship and what more we can do to encourage diversity in RICS Fellows, with more female chartered surveyors recognised as role models for their industry expertise and successes.

Applying for RICS Fellowship

I had been contemplating applying for RICS Fellowship for over 12 months after I received a significant promotion. I wanted to be recognised for the hard work and dedication that I have put into my career and demonstrate how proud I am of my profession and membership of the RICS.

It was also a recognition of the quality of advice and previous feedback from others that encouraged me to apply. I wanted to ensure that we encourage diversity into the profession too and give everyone a chance to become the best they can possibly be from diverse backgrounds.

I thought the process of applying for Fellowship was straightforward and the right amount of testing evidence and skills was there. The process enabled me to see that what I had done through my career was worthy of distinction and the statements of evidence proved that.

Overcoming barriers and fellowship myths

I have had some great role models within the Real Estate Sector, both male and female, however my biggest barrier has been my own confidence and the belief in myself to proceed with Fellowship.

It is vital to have access to both male and female role models in the sector and make those role models accessible, knowing where to find them. I also feel that Real Estate has not traditionally opened up senior and executive roles for women until recently and thus, there's a perception that Fellowship is only for when you are at the very top.

Perhaps the inability to open up flexibility has also discouraged females from the profession in the past. I think this is changing, but we still have a long way to go and as a full time working mum and Fellow, I hope that I can share my journey with others and dispel some myths.

More female FRICS' needed

In order for us to raise the number of female FRICS' in the UK, we need to see more relevant networking opportunities and diversity and inclusion must be a fundamental part of the route to RICS and FRICS membership. Ensuring that female-led groups like Women In Surveying and Women In Property are recognised and promoted would also help to encourage more female RICS professionals to consider going for their Fellowship.

We also need to see more mentoring opportunities and visibility of accessible role models.

Benefits of RICS Fellowship

I am hoping that RICS Fellowship will endorse the quality of my work and recommendation to clients. My Fellowship will also help me become more visible in the industry and encourage others to join RICS and have a long and rewarding career as I have had so far. I hope that reaching this point in my career will create more opportunities for me to go progress further professionally too.

My career expectations are to become an executive leader and to continue the development of my own consultancy. My fellowship will act as an open door to anyone who wishes to talk to me about their own journey and pressures.

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