The Role of Women in Real Estate – Rajitha Jayasuriya

Rajitha Jayasuriya – Director of Sales & Marketing at Capital Heights, a Venture by Access Engineering PLC.

Rajitha first joined the Real Estate industry of Sri Lanka as an Assistant Sales Manager at Ceylinco Consolidated, one of the country’s oldest and largest business conglomerates. Since then she has come to be known as one of the leading female members of the Sri Lankan real estate fraternity. The Director of Sales & Marketing at Capital Heights, which is a venture by Access Engineering PLC., Rajitha secured the ‘Pioneering Woman Leader Award’ at the World Women Leadership Congress last year.

Describing the current status of the Real Estate industry of Sri Lanka, Rajitha explained, “Sri Lanka is blessed with a good climate and the ideal location. We believe that the next industry growth will be led by the Asia Pacific region. The very fact that we have come out of a 30-year civil war reflects our potential. We need to change our mindset, for if we don’t, I do not think that we can protect our market, have a protective economic growth and achieve growth in a globalized world. In the suburbs, growth is mostly visible in Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, which is seen by end users as an emerging hub that offers affordable prices and luxury living. Expressways, elevated highways and light transit will complement the growth in the area. The coastal belt is also experiencing growth, mainly bordering Mount Lavinia, Wadduwa, Galle and Hikkaduwa. Most people invest envisaging an ROI, by catering to tourism through short-term letting and Airbnb. This boom is large because expatriate Sri Lankans have taken an interest in investing, since the dawn of peace in our country and thus return to their roots. The globally accepted level for vertical living in a country like ours is US$ 175-300 per sq ft.”

As a leading female professional in the Real Estate industry, Rajitha would heartily recommend and encourage women to join, what she describes, as an industry where one really gets to know more about life and community issues. “Time wasted is time lost! Going to the next level or the next dimension in your life is not an easy task, unless one is ready to be totally committed and consistent, and willing to be trained and cultivate staying power with one company. Ceylinco was that one place for me, where I stayed for 10 long years. Doing your best, walking an extra mile for the customer and the positive trait are the keys to success in the industry. To be in an industry, which demands weekends and holidays is tough. The ability to adopt a proper work-life balance, and be available to serve clients on weekends and holidays, will escalate your success. Because families come together to buy a home. To be successful in real estate, you must always and consistently put your client’s best interests first. ‘Buyers decide in the first eight seconds of seeing a home if they’re interested in buying it’. Finally, the real estate sector will give you a good income as well as the freedom to work from home and choose your hours.”

Given the fact that a career in real estate requires much field work, many may feel that it is not the ideal industry for a woman, however, Rajitha states, “Over the years women have taken over many roles that were defined as ‘male dominated roles’. Hence, the female transition to the Real Estate industry is just another challenge taken up with courage and bravura. A woman is a natural ‘home maker’ and this makes it easier for them to fit into the industry. Women were mostly housewives in the past, but during the last 25 years there has been a remarkable shift overall. Women now choose field jobs with great enthusiasm and exuberance. They enjoy these jobs much more than desk jobs. My heart leaps when I see a female engineer in overalls at a power and energy plant in Norochcholai. What more?”

“Well, if you look around, most blue-chip companies have hired more females to head their divisions and drive the teams. Because women are ‘home makers and home keepers’ by nature. There is a large segment of lady realtors in Sri Lanka”, responded Rajitha, when asked if she considered the Real Estate industry to be ‘female dominated’. Speaking of the steps she has taken in order to ensure the development of female professionals in the sector, Rajitha explained, “The Real Estate industry is all about client servicing, which demands patience, walking the extra mile, balancing your company policies, attention to detail, quality and timely deliveries. After all we are selling a home, not a house nor an apartment. ‘Hands that rocks the cradle’ will be the most suitable to enter a service-oriented and passionate industry, such as, the Real Estate industry. I have an all-girl sales team, this is my best contribution to the Real Estate industry, and the best step taken to develop female professionals towards the industry.”