Ademchic was one of the first three firms to sign up to Property Week’s Inspiring Diversity in Property (IDIP) campaign pledge. Its director and chief visionary spoke to Stephanie Denton about why it signed and what the pledge means for the company.

Karolina Adamcyzk

Karolina Adamczyk

Why did you decide to sign up to the IDIP company pledge?

We are in property and have nine women and one man in our company. We are not just supporting this – we’re living it. We are going to smash the pledge and lift the average number for everyone. We’re creating that science. We’re at the forefront of this. We are all very strong women and dealing every day with male clients.

How important is it to have diversity in the sector?

Diversity and equilibrium is really important. In property you don’t see that many women, but sometimes that can be an advantage: to be a woman in a man’s world. I almost don’t notice gender and maybe that’s because we are so female focused. The rest of the industry is completely the opposite, so you need this pledge to make people think consciously about it.

As co-founder of the Property Sisters network, how important do you think it is for women to get help?

Women naturally think a little bit smaller and believe we must serve the coffee before you start doing the job. One of my biggest regrets is that it’s taken us seven years to get where we are. If I were a man, I would probably do it in a year. Women tend to be very cautious and naturally a bit risk averse.

What sort of changes would you like to see in the future across the sector?

It would be lovely to work with women on a range of projects, because we bring different things to it. Women tend to be more organised and can multitask and like having all their ducks in a row. But balance is great everywhere, so I don’t understand why there is such a big gap. I can see every day that you can be in the industry successfully as a woman so it’s about giving women equal opportunities and not immediately dismissing a good employee because you have a male team. Firms might be trying to figure out how a woman can manage men on site and the answer is very well.

Given Ademchic is a female-dominated business, how do you think a middle-aged man would fit into your company?

We never tried so I don’t know. If he had the right skills, then he would be welcome. We very often attract younger crowds because the way we speak about the company is quite cool. Probably 50% of applications are people after university so we very rarely see applications from someone who has a lot of experience and has worked in the industry for many, many years. But it wouldn’t be based on a gender; it would be based on their experience – as long as they fit the profile of the job that we’re looking for.

Are there any areas of the pledge that you are confident you are already doing?

We have already fostered a culture of diversity and inclusiveness and created an environment where people feel empowered. If you create a culture that is mega inclusive, you can attract the best people as well. We have built Ademchic up to be a leader in diversity for the property development sector and our pledge is based around sharing what we’ve learned and helping others to do the same so that collectively we can shift the industry’s thinking and success.

Is there anything other firms could learn from you?

The thing that I love the most is seeing someone who starts quite early in their career, and then grows to this massive role in the business. Our marketing manager has just been promoted and we were his first role. We retain staff by making them feel empowered. They’re given the space to serve them and they can own a lot.

Is there anything that you think you could learn from other companies?

Historically, we’ve had a lot of younger mega-keen people. Now we see the need of hiring very experienced people to help us grow to the next level. Bigger organisations do well at attracting talent at a different level. That’s the challenge for us.

What advice would you give a younger woman joining the sector today?

I would advise her to put her gender aside and just go for the best roles. Find the right crowd that you vibe with and just keep trying until you find that. Also, if I feel that I’m thinking smaller, sometimes I need to remind myself a man would already go for this 10 times.

Do you think the sector can make a positive change in diversity terms?

I hope companies like ours will come and turn everything around. There is a surge of businesses run by women and thriving in the space. The more we shout that is possible, people will start thinking that is possible. If you’re a woman with a massive drive, then you probably don’t notice it and you just do it automatically. But with bigger organisations, some things are just ingrained in them so deeply and so change there is going to take longer.