Breaking down barriers

Louie-Mae Gibson, Estate Director and Functions Board Member for Company stability at Knight Frank Guarantee (KFP) focusing on Ladies in Company, is using her significant experience to fulfil dedication to advancing the possibilities for women in home and FM

It’s already been estimated that guys outnumber females by nine to 1 in facilities administration leadership functions. Louie-Mae Gibson, Estate Director and an Operations Panel Member for Business stability at Knight Frank Guarantee (KFP) which specialises in the house and facilities administration of residential properties, believes that the true way to fight this shortfall would be to have a complete lifecycle approach, from recruitment to mentoring and training, through to encouraging ladies who flourish in FM to place something back again by mentoring others.

Gibson began her profession in the army, moved into management consultancy after leaving the services and took on HR subsequently, operational and project administration functions before moving to KFP in 2019. She advocates that the best way to split the barriers to recruiting females into property functions begins at the application form stage. In KFP they’re breaking the tendency and going for a refreshing and completely supportive method of initiatives that produce gender balance.

She says: “I strongly think that people follow their natural behaviours plus they tend to employ people who are like them, so if you’ve got heads of department that are all men, they shall follow their behavioural traits. For this reason effecting change from the very best is essential and it’s vital that you get men up to speed with this process. It isn’t ‘man bashing’ but instead acknowledging that you’re never likely to get anything done in the event that you don’t address the structural create from the very best down.

“We have been the only real all-female team in my own area so when we recruit for roles this is a case of considering skills and advising your core skills could be considered more ‘female’, such as for example admin or supportive roles. But consider that you will be confined to those positions don’t, you can shoot for fee generating roles.

“Being in FM isn’t about going on a building site with digger boots, it’s been estimated that 87 % of the role is desk-based so you’re not likely to be digging up a field. Unfortunately, if you head to recruitment fairs and you also go through the stands, they’re often heavily represented by males therefore the sector needs to start by getting recruiters up to speed that try to get women to show up at fairs as a school leaver, someone or graduate who’s transferring
from another industry who’s interested in getting into FM.”

With regards to the specific recruitment process she says: “Eradicating tick box qualifications is key – you don’t have to scroll through to check out engineering degrees, because in the primary, you don’t need one for an FM role. Ask instead, what is crucial for that role? You go through the soft skills and have questions like once, ‘have you taken a leadership role?’ that flips it to a heavier pool of candidate and opens up a wider influx of female applicants which could get the job done.

“The KFP operations board happens to be 70 % female, and we’ve rolled out a blind CV process where you remove the candidate’s name and any pronouns to nullify any unconscious bias. In this manner you know individuals you interview will be the best people in the years ahead and it really helps to flip recruitment on its head.”

MENTORING MIX

Mentoring is another important area of the mix. Gibson mentors in many ways, both across different sectors via Ladies in Business, and on the house side with Agents Together that provides the sector resources and tools to aid their professional growth.

She explains: “With mentoring I would provide a woman help with the technical side of the role or perhaps a steer to a specific legal requirement. I don’t know her boss, her business or her client but my help should get rid of the fear factor on her behalf as I’m completely removed and also have no effect on her job. I’m there to give insight just. In this manner those being confidently mentored can promote themselves
more.

“I’ve been asked within the FM sector to mentor other folks. What’s so rewarding is when you yourself have people you’ve mentored during the last decade plus they message one to say they’re head of accounts, head of a house team or perhaps a development manager. They state ‘how is it possible to are thanked by me? and you also say ‘you can too be considered a mentor now.’ It’s infectious and folks are so appreciative they are a lot more than happy and keen to cover it forward.”

Mother’s often get yourself a raw deal with regards to the career prospects so for future years Gibson believes that organisations have to think more creatively in order that when people who have experience and knowledge keep coming back from maternity they’re offered even senior roles as job share posts.

She says: “In assisting to generate these roles within business we’re likely to need to proactively create these roles. Flexible working due to COVID means that as part of your, you have positions available that are appealing to those searching for shared roles which flexibility will encourage a go back to work and says that women’s careers can flourish whatever their circumstances.”

INSPIRATIONS

Gibson herself has been inspired by way of a amount of powerful women which range from: “Eleanor Roosevelt, day times who’s easily forgotten in modern, for the trailblazing achievements, human rights activism, today and the embryonic systems that people take as confirmed. I also admire, am and respect in awe of ladies just like the NASA mathematicians; Kathrine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan. For equality, Ladies in educator and Business, it must be Jacqueline Abbott-Deane, Director and founder of Tactix Consultancy and something Loud Voice which aims to mobilise and gather the countless groups tackling the continuing barriers for ladies in the
UK workforce.

“Overall all though, it might be my mum always, who, was of her time ahead, bright intelligent and funny hilariously, who set an extremely high bar, and always empowered me to accomplish whatever I needed to whether ‘only boys do that’, or if ‘that’s a man’s job’; morning she was one that lightly said over coffee one, ‘why don’t the Army is joined by you?’”

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