Proptech sector lags as fewer women in leadership roles

The second annual Australian Proptech Industry Map Report found the number of women in leadership positions had softened.

Female leadership in the property technology sector declined over the past year as more than half of all locally founded businesses look to scale up internationally over the next 24 months.

The second annual Australian Proptech Industry Map Report found the number of women in leadership positions in the rising area softened by around half a percentage point through 2021 to 16.7 per cent, while men hold 81.8 per cent of roles. The remainder of respondents did not disclose their gender.

Proptech BNE founder Isaac Coonan said greater supports including incubators, accelerated and funding bodies need to be focused on empowering more women into leadership positions.

“I’m not overly surprised by the result when you look at the representation of women in both property and technology sectors,” Mr Coonan said.

“But putting the data in front of government and incubators, hopefully they can see and do something.”

While fewer women are in leadership roles, they are generally more qualified and hold more experience in the property sector. More than half (52.4 per cent) of female leaders hold a masters degree compared to just 35.5 per cent of males.

The average founder is aged 40.9 years old, with around half (56.1 per cent) having previous experience in the property industry.

Now that Australia has emerged from the pandemic and reconnected with the world, many property technology businesses are now looking to scale up their operations. Mr Coonan said half of local outfits (52.1 per cent) are primarily looking to the United States, Britain and Canada for opportunity.

“An increasing number of Australian proptech businesses are reaching a point … where global expansion is no longer a potential option, but a high priority focus for the coming one to two years,” Mr Coonan said.

A majority of the sector focuses on technology to support property management (53 per cert), followed by construction technology (18 per cent) and Investment (9 per cent).

Mr Coonan believes accelerator programs, government initiatives and capital institutes should be ensuring they have the ability to support them.

The proptech industry currently supports 4937 jobs around the country, nearly two thirds of which are evenly spread across Victoria and NSW. Last year saw 988 jobs created.

Queensland is home to the largest number of emerging property technology businesses in the country at little more than a third (34.1 per cent), followed by NSW (31.1 per cent) and Victoria (22.7 per cent)

The online survey took place over 12 weeks from December last year to March, receiving 135 completed responses. In the coming years, the report hopes to expand its diversity data, to analyse the nationality, sexual orientation and number of Indigenous peoples in leadership roles.