Leaders of tomorrow

20 December 2019

By Vicky Savage, Chair of the G15 Development Directors Group and London Managing Director at L&Q

I truly believe that housing is one of the best careers out there.

When you work for a housing association, you get to make a real difference. That’s not to mention the range of projects you’ll get the chance to work across, gaining invaluable professional experience and skills.

But when it comes to diversity and representation, we still have a long way to go.

I’ve spent my entire career in housing, and I’ve lost count of the number of meetings and industry events I’ve been at where women are in the minority.

The statistics speak for themselves. Despite making up 46% of the workforce, just 34% of housing association CEOs are female. Just 12% of construction workers are women. Talented female employees time and again find themselves dropping out in their mid-thirties.

This is not to mention the wider spectrum of diversity that we need to embrace.

The housing sector urgently needs more strong female role models to provide inspiration to those at the start of their careers.

The G15 represents London’s largest housing associations. Together, we build a quarter of all London’s new homes and own or manage more than 600,000 homes.

We recognise the value of nurturing talent and supporting women in the sector. I know first-hand the value of mentoring, having benefited from it throughout my career, and this is one of my priorities as Chair of the G15 Development Directors Group.

That’s why we’ve launched our inaugural Development Director’s Women Mentoring Network.

This brings together some of the top female voices in our sector to share their knowledge and experience with women in our membership organisations at the start of their development careers.

The network includes 17 women at Director or Head of Service positions in total. Our mentees will have regular catch ups with them, gaining career advice and guidance to help them progress.

To meet the challenges of the modern world, we need to embrace new ways of thinking. That means breaking down traditional barriers that are holding back some of our best and brightest.

I’m confident that the mentees starting on this programme will go on to great things, and I’m excited for this programme to grow.