Gagan Singh is CEO – Business & Chairperson – Sri Lanka Operations, Jones Lang LaSalle India. She has over 30 years of experience in the corporate world and now is a real estate professional with a multinational firm.
On the eve of International Women’s Day, Naaree caught up with her to glean some gems of wisdom on careers for women in the real estate industry.
Why did you enter the real estate industry?
The real estate services industry is a great sector for woman to work in. Since I have had the privilege of working in several sectors over the past 30+ years, I can say this with some authority.
There is definitely an upsurge of opportunities for women in real estate, especially in the organized part of the real estate business. International property consultants, architects and designers and leading developers now have ladies as part of their leadership teams.
What difference is there in the shaping of residences with women taking the decisions?
There has never been a time when residences were not envisaged and created from the viewpoint of women. Nor will such a time ever come. Women are the home-makers, and it is they who decide what works and what doesn’t in a home. Both rental and purchase decisions are made accordingly.
What have you experienced, in the way a women is perceived in the male dominant real estate industry?
It is true that real estate, especially in India, has historically been male dominated. However, the country’s rapid globalization has put paid to that trend. Today, more and more top-notch Indian companies active in a wide swath of real estate-related activities are employing women in leadership roles.
What advice would you give to women who are planning to enter the real estate industry?
Indian women need to outgrow the inferiority complex hard-wired into them by generations of social pressure. There are immense opportunities for women in real estate today. Indian society has changed a lot and women who display courage, conviction and confidence can reach the same heights of achievement that men can.
It is time to stop looking ourselves as professionals who are limited by gender. I also advise women seeking to build their careers in real estate to choose companies that appreciate and understand the value that women bring to the table – and at the same time understand the special needs of women at certain phases of their lives.
Firms like Jones Lang LaSalle provide equal opportunity for women who show passion and deliver results. My experience at the top in this firm has been extremely satisfying and enjoyable. I have always perceived my gender as a distinct advantage.
I have never had to hold back or had the slightest hesitation in saying or doing what I need on account of being a woman. I therefore advise women to choose to work for real estate companies that consider them as equal stakeholders and contributors, and make them feel nurtured and valued.