Closing the gender gap in real estate tech with Alaina Percival

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Inman, the leader in independent real estate and technology news and events, is happy to announce Alaina Percival as a speaker for Inman Connect New York, which takes place January 26 through 29.

I was recently poring over The 2015 NAR Member Profile (more interesting than it sounds), which took a look at a variety of economic and demographic characteristics and business practices. A few things jumped out at me:

  • Sixty-five percent of Realtors reported having a website for at least five years, 12 percent reported having a real estate blog, and 65 percent of members are using social media.
  • Fifty-eight percent of all Realtors are female.
  • Eighty-four percent of Realtors are certain they will remain in the business for two more years.

So what can we gather from this information? Well, for one, there are a lot of tech-savvy female Realtors out there (or, at least, tech-interested). For another, they aren’t going anywhere — they’re in it for the long haul.

And what does the long haul hold? More tech.

Things are just getting started in real estate technology, and the opportunities are ripe for the pickin’. However, it seems that historically, those who have done the pickin’ are a) people with a science/technology background and b) male. To wit:

Zillow co-founders Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink are former Microsoft employees who also created Expedia. Redfin co-founder David Eraker dropped out of the University of Washington’s medical school to pursue a career in software design. Homestore (now Move Inc.) founder and former CEO Stuart Wolff was a Princeton-educated scientist, with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. (We won’t mention how things ended for Wolff. But I digress.)

So. Many. Men.

The discussion of why there aren’t more women in tech is a popular one — online and off. The reasons are varied and valid: They’re underpaid, they’re overlooked for promotions and job hires. They’re subjected to sexism in the workplace. Fifty-six percent of women in tech jobs end up leaving for something else halfway through their career.

But if we’re looking for the root cause of why there aren’t more women in tech, we need to dig deeper. We need to look to education.

The disparity between men and women who study computer science at the university level is enormous — 82 percent versus 17 percent. Fifty-seven percent of bachelor’s degrees are earned by women, but only 12 percent are computer science degrees.

When faced with stats like this, it’s no wonder we’re not seeing more women in tech.

Alaina Percival is on a mission to change all of this.

As the CEO of Women Who Code, Percival is dedicated to inspiring women to buck that 82 percent vs. 17 percent statistic. Women Who Code is a global non-profit that — you guessed it — teaches women to code. The program is for both career-aged women and younger girls still in school, but the end result is the same: helping women to excel in technology careers.

According to Percival, “All industries are going to be technology industries in the future, so we will see more and more leaders and executives in those companies having some technical experience.”

Which brings us back to real estate.

If a majority of female Realtors plan to stay in the industry for another couple years, the next step is to upgrade your toolbelt. Percival says, “HomeLight, Zillow and Lenda are just a few of the organizations specifically working to innovate the real estate industry, so change is coming. Invest in yourself by trying new technologies to see if they might benefit your business or clients. The good news is technology companies today put thought into the user experience, and their goal is to make adoption and use of their product and services as easy as possible.”

Which means: It’s time to learn to code. It’s time to educate yourself and build those apps and websites on your own. It’s time to couple your deep knowledge and unparalleled expertise in real estate with tech skills. It’s time to raise the real estate technology bar.

We’re honored to have Alaina Percival join us at ICNY16 on January 28th, where she’ll be discussing the importance of women in technology and how diversity can transform the workplace for the better.

Ladies: I’ll see you there.

Email Jennye Garibaldi.

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