“Chartered surveying is a hugely enjoyable job with great career prospects,” she says. “I get a great kick out of working in the industry and would like more women like me to get the opportunity.”
Currently, chartered surveying remains a largely male-dominated business with joust 13% of female members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the 100,000-strong professional body.
Today, 28% of trainees are women. But progress lags behind professions such as law and accountancy, where women account for nearer to 50% of the workforce. And, until this year, the RICS had never had a female president in its 146-year history.
But all that changed on 30 June 2014, when Louise Brooke-Smith was elected to the role. Louise promptly kicked off a campaign, Surveying the Future, to attract surveyors from more diverse backgrounds, including more women.
Naomi is keen to stress the range of careers open to women in chartered surveying. “Traditionally there are more women in rural surveying, where they are well accepted,” she says. “But it is a hugely diverse profession that covers 19 different specialisations in three sectors – land, property and construction – and the chance to work on projects all over the world.”
Naomi herself came into the profession via a traditional route, but has diversified as her career developed. A self-confessed country girl from Hampshire, and a keen horse-rider, she studied first for a BSc in agricultural business management at Reading University followed by an MSc in rural estate management at the RAU.
She completed her two-year professional training in rural practices before moving to a more mixed practice at the Guildford office of Bruton Knowles in 2013. Her expertise covers professional valuations of both farm land and country houses, agricultural business management with clients in the banking sector, as well as offering estate management on behalf of owners and investors.
She loves meeting different people and says being a woman is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. “As a woman the only difference is that we are perhaps more conscious of the risks of lone work, for instance out on a valuation, but I always make sure I am in touch with the office.
“The job is immensely rewarding,” she says. I spend half my time in the office and half out and about, which is great for me as I wouldn’t enjoy being stuck behind a desk all day.”
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