This blog is mainly focused on gender equality in Building Surveying and how focusing on an ‘image’ of equality can lead to employees and employers missing out.
Being a Guest Lecturer on the Building Surveying Module
For the past couple of years, I have had the privilege of giving a guest lecture on the Building Surveying Module of University of Auckland’s Property Degree. My lecture gives a very condensed account of my career to date and touches on equality in the role – after all, I am female and technically a minority in Building Surveying.
In my lecture I cover how I want to acquire a job and it isn’t to fill a quota or to help a company represent ‘diversity’. I want to be given a job on merit, because of my Building Surveying ability and work ethic. Widdles and tiddles are what we are born with – being good at my job is what I have worked hard at and what I expect to be judged on.
We see a lot of images of what a ‘diverse’ company looks like and seemingly you can only be seen as an equal opportunities employer if your team photo resembles a Pokemon-Go poster. My message to these future surveyors is to not judge a company by the faces on their team photo. A company with all or mostly male faces does not necessarily mean that a company does not support equal opportunities nor does it mean they are not diverse. The type of diversity that will help you learn and grow in your career, is not represented by image. Surround yourself by people who know more than you, have different experiences and are enthusiastic in their work. These are the characteristics that I believe matter and they all come packaged in different genders, religions and ethnicity.
I’m lucky enough to have worked for companies that I know employed me on merit and respected my knowledge and skill set. These companies collectively supported me as I advanced through my career and have given me the opportunity to push myself and grow as a surveyor.
Building Surveying has been and continues to be a fantastic career for me. It is my hope that by talking about my adventures in Building Surveying and demonstrating that being in a ‘minority’ doesn’t prevent you having a great career, it will encourage all young people to consider this profession for themselves.
The future for Building Surveying
Building Surveying is not going to be every bodies cup of tea. I stumbled across Building Surveying – it was not presented to me, or my fellow students, as a career option in school and I would hazard a guess that more people (male and female) would pursue it if they knew it existed.
In summary, perhaps we need to educate kids about all career paths and allow them to choose a job that suits their individual goals. As for employers… lets not be too judgmental – I’ve worked for diverse companies but we were diverse in far more than just appearance.
by Victoria Richardson
Whilst my experiences as a Building Surveyor have been positive, I acknowledge that some people in the industry may have or are encountering discrimination. This is never acceptable and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors are there to help you.
University of Auckland – Bachelor of Property – Building Surveying is an elective module within the degree course.