8 March 2022
#BreakTheBias: breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes in the property industry
Last year, it was reported just 30% of senior roles in the corporate world are occupied by women. While progress has been made in recent years, there is still some way to go.
International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022 is a particularly special one, as it’s the first time many women can come together again to celebrate each other’s achievements and share their own life experiences. This year’s hashtag for (IWD) is #BreakTheBias, and we’ve spoken to Leanne Taylor, Land Manager at Anchor, on what International Women’s Day and #BreakTheBias means to her:
This International Women’s Day, we are challenged to #BreakTheBias. While creating an equal playing field for women in property is important to me, there are other barriers we face within our professional environments.
I qualified as an accountant a number of years ago, before deciding to reroute my journey and become a land manager. I am lucky enough to have worked with management who have supported me to progress and thrive. In my current role, I have felt encouraged to move forward with my career thanks to the mentoring, support and understanding I have received. Mentoring is something Anchor truly values, and many colleagues, like myself, have been inspired to push boundaries thanks to the guidance they have received.
Anchor isn’t your typical property business either – our Chief Executive, Jane Ashcroft, is female, and she sits alongside two women on our board – which gives you a good idea of the opportunities we offer to women and the different perspectives we have and share across the business. It is something I have witnessed first-hand, and it struck me when I first joined the organisation – I could see the efforts Anchor goes to when it comes to building a vibrant, inclusive and productive work environment.
Furthermore, Anchor recognises that building a diverse workforce is key to improving business performance and customer satisfaction, and creating an environment where everyone has an opportunity to progress and feel part of what we do. In 2021 we were awarded ‘Silver Status’ by the Inclusive Employers Standard, a testament to the organisation’s hard work in building an inclusive organisation.
When it comes to breaking the bias, we must look beyond stereotypes and dig a little deeper by challenging our traditions. As a land manager, and former accountant, my career path hasn’t followed a generic route.
All too often, companies – whether in property or not – overlook candidates based on their experience rather than their skills. It is what I believe is an unconscious bias which perhaps prevents many people, especially women, moving forward in their careers.
At Anchor, we sit within the social care and new development sectors, like many industries, we are facing recruitment challenges. In order to encourage new talent, we need to challenge our bias (conscious and unconscious) and ask ourselves how we can attract those from outside the sector, to find more people like me.
One way in which the organisation is helping to challenge bias is through its Wellbeing Strategy, focusing on raising awareness of common, wide-ranging issues which affect women in their professional and personal lives. For instance, many women manage the impact that menopause has on their day-to-day life and others experience the emotional turmoil of going through fertility treatment. Both can be deeply distressing and can have a knock-on effect on their careers. Anchor offers its support to employees going through personal challenges like this, which really does go a long way.
The organisation also operates a flexible working policy to ensure people have a greater work life balance and a colleague assistance helpline is accessible 24/7, to provide colleagues with extra support if needed.
I am proud to be part of an organisation which is leading the way, thinking outside the box and striving to #BreakTheBias when it comes to diversity. Inclusive environments generate fresh thinking and allows employees to gather a variety of perspectives to enable good decision-making. It’s a sign the organisation not only cares about its people but strives to improve itself and to embed a culture of inclusion.
To learn more about our values and how we celebrate diversity, click here.