South African quantity surveyors: issues of gender and race in the workplace

Journal Article


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title

Acta Structilia

Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

A web-based questionnaire survey of the opinions of SA quantity surveyors was undertaken to establish gender- and race-based differences in job satisfaction. Issues explored included demographic factors, issues of gender and race in the workplace, and gender and racial harassment and discrimination at work. 'Significant' differences on the basis of gender exist on a number of issues. Women, more than men, have strong positive feelings regarding their levels of job satisfaction, feel that their career expectations have been fulfilled, would choose the same career again, and would unequivocally recommend the career to others. Females see QS practices as male-dominated, see themselves as being blocked from advancement to managerial ranks, participating less in decision-making, and remunerated at a lower level than equivalent colleagues. Issues important to women include : gender representivity in the profession, flexible working hours and maternity leave above the statutory minimum. Although both gender groups report racial harassment and discrimination at work, women experience significantly more sexual and gender harassment and religious and gender discrimination than do males. 'Significant' differences on the basis of race are evident concerning : feelings of job satisfaction and views on maternity / paternity leave above statutory minima. 'Highly significant' differences on the basis of race arise over issues of : being subjected to greater supervision because of race, not being allowed to contribute meaningfully to the decision-making process, viewing PDI status as a valid basis for promotion, seeing race representivity in the profession as important in combating discrimination at work, having personally experienced racial harassment and discrimination at work, and seeing respect for individual diversity in the workplace as important - with 'Whites' viewing these issues less 'empathically' than their 'Non-white' counterparts. The results provide valuable indicators for how the quantity surveying firms can create a more conducive work environment for professional staff, particularly females.