Shattering the Glass Ceiling: Women In Real Estate Development and Construction

Quick: Name a woman you know or have worked with in real estate development or construction. Not so easy is it? Sure, women have taken their rightful place at the table in the architecture and design industries and increasingly in engineering thanks to a growing focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives in schools, but females gaining a foothold in the male-dominated real estate development and construction fields has been hard to come by.


Building Blocks


According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 13 percent of construction employees are female — a number that hasn’t budged much since the 1990s. These jobs are largely office and administrative roles, as compared to higher-profile positions that often go to men: finance, transportation, development and construction.

Recent facts and figures surrounding women in the construction industry show some positive movement: Data reveals that the number of women working in construction today is the highest its been in two decades, and 71 percent of respondents to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Women in Construction agree that opportunities for females is increasing in the field.

However, that still leaves a lot of room for growth, as women only account for 3.4 percent of all construction trades workers in the U.S. The pervasive and deeply ingrained discrimination women historically face in these fields is a major deterrent for women who have been interested in starting or continuing their careers in real estate development and construction.


Women in Real Estate Development and Construction


Developing the Field


Women’s History Month is the ideal time to break down barriers to build a more fair, inclusive world. And the real estate development and construction field is ripe for a re-examination of how it has traditionally operated and how it can open up more opportunities for females.

Take into account that for women who have broken through in the construction industry, the gender gap is promisingly narrower than in other fields. (The pay gap in construction averages 3.7 percent, while the nationwide gap in all other industries hovers around 19 percent.) In other words, the real estate development and construction industry can be a viable place for women to seek gainful, equitable employment when given the right opportunities.

More signs of change: Several professional organizations and brands have implemented initiatives that encourage and support women in development and construction, an indication that evolution is beneficial to the industry as a whole.


A Personal Path to More Representation


Founder of Inspired Interiors and the recently launched custom homebuilding company Inspired Luxury Homes Emily Mackie has experienced firsthand the pitfalls of being a woman in the real estate development and construction field.

While she established Inspired Interiors to be a proudly female-led interior design firm with progressive values and a generous work-life balance, entering new territory with Inspired Luxury Homes was an eye-opening experience.

“Beginning the build of our first spec home has been an uphill battle,” Emily shares. “Banks were hesitant to finance our new project because they wanted to see a track record of numerous homes built in my history, despite showing them my entire portfolio, which consists of countless new construction and gut rehab projects over the course of 18 years. They insisted on evidence of me actually building homes from the ground up under my company name. They actually told me they can’t loan me money unless I have numerous on record.”

“However, it was important to me from the beginning to have a female-focused team leading this project. I’m actually still in search of a female general contractor, but they really don’t exist out there.”

Trailblazers don’t have the benefit of a template for the path before them — they make their own. And entrepreneurs create something that hasn’t been done before. With Inspired Luxury Homes, Emily is blazing a trail for women-owned and -directed real estate development and construction projects but is unfortunately still navigating how to circumvent existing roadblocks. As she puts it: “Doors are still being shut instead of opened.”


The Future Is (Increasingly) Female


We’d love to hear of any real estate development projects you have come across that are being led by women, as well as females who are funding other women in the industry. Reach out to Emily and her Inspired Luxury Homes team (and follow our social media channels for a game-changing campaign!) to share your stories, because the best way to encourage the evolution of anything worthwhile is to actively foster its gradual growth and eventual success.

5 Reasons to Virtually Render Your Home Before You Start Construction

Take it from us: The future of homebuilding is here. We started Inspired Luxury Homes, Inspired Interiors’ newly launched sister brand, to bring the power of virtual reality renderings to homebuyers. We discovered so many ways that virtual renderings are superior to traditional still photos and floor plans while developing our first spec home, but we’ll start here by sharing the top five reasons.


1. You’ll get a 720-degree depiction of your new home.


Forget 360 degrees — our state-of-the-art virtual home renderings take you on a 720-degree spherical journey, from east to west as well as from north to south. Just imagine the opportunities presented by touring your new residence in virtual reality before you even break ground. Not only is the experience exponentially more satisfying, it’s also more informative, allowing you to fully explore what it will physically feel and look like in your new home.


Critical elements such as the actual distance between rooms, spatial relationships to consider and the overall flow of the space can be more viscerally felt in VR than a flat photo could ever provide.


2. You can better plan for design selections.


When you’re able to experience elements such as natural light distribution, available wall space and visual perspectives (what do you see when you first walk in the house? What’s in your line of sight as you move from room to room?), you’re better prepared to make important decisions regarding furnishings, artwork, vertical storage options, etc. Armed with this invaluable knowledge, you can consider how your current furniture and home decor pieces will fit in your new space, as well as what you’ll need to source and purchase.


You can also contemplate and envision how you’ll embody the space. Can you set up a home office that overlooks the backyard? Will you have a serene space for dinner parties without the competing noise from the family room? These are life-altering factors that can be analyzed in advance of breaking ground — what a gift!


3. Larger decisions are more easily (and definitively) made.


While virtually touring your new home, you get a more tangible feel for what design selections are desired from room to room rather than committing to expensive add-ons where they might not be needed. For example, bold patterns and textures might need to be rethought to more harmoniously fit the space. Why commit to crown moulding throughout the home when the ceilings are lower in the basement? You may not want mullions on every window pane.


With a virtual rendering, you have a much more straightforward and streamlined way to determine these types of decisions — because you can experience them before committing to them.


4. You’ll arrive at a more accurate analysis of cost and time.


Because virtual renderings offer you the unparalleled opportunity to arrive at these conclusions about your new home, you have a much better idea of what’s truly important to you and what you are willing to pay for. You’ll also get a more definitive list of materials needed beforehand, lessening the chance of buyer’s remorse and keeping your timeline on track.


5. You have a much better chance of meeting your move-in date.


We’ve all heard horror stories of new home owners building a custom residence, only to be displaced by delays. By partnering with a homebuilding company that specializes in virtual renderings, those informative 720-degree tours will bring your new home to life right before your eyes while managing schedules and mitigating unforeseen circumstances.


The result is a move-in ready residence that reflects you and your family’s lifestyle from the very beginning. Connect with the Inspired Luxury Homes team to bring your own vision to life. We’ve moved beyond asking you to bring us your living room — now you can bring us your land.