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International Women's Day: Embracing Equity and exploring the gender pay gap in the property industry

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“An 18-year-old woman starting work today will not see pay equality in her lifetime” – Juggle UK

This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is embracing equity, and this morning we held an internal workshop to highlight the impact of the gender pay gap within the workplace, and how we as an industry can increase women's representation.

Equal pay vs gender pay gap

When speaking about the gender pay gap, there is often confusion around what this means and whether it is the same as equal pay.

According to Employment Law Worldwide View:

-The gender pay gap measures the difference between men and women’s average pay.

- Equal pay ensures that employers give men and women the same earnings if they are employed to do the same role.

In the UK, companies that are over 250 people must report their gender pay gap, and ONS data for 2022 shows the national gender pay gap to be 8.3%.

What impacts the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap is affected by several wider issues that impact a woman’s ability to advance in their careers and take on leadership and senior roles.

A huge issue that is widening the pay gap within the UK currently is the cost of childcare. According to the Evening Standard, the total childcare costs in the UK represents almost a third of a family's net income, compared to 1% in Germany.

This increase in cost has meant that for some women, it has become more affordable to not work than to stay in employment and pay for childcare.

'Data for 2021 showed the gender pay gap widening four times faster in the UK than the average for the OECD, primarily due to the financial penalty from motherhood.' – The Guardian

So how does this affect the pay gap? With women having to take a step back from their careers to pay for childcare there are fewer women within the workplace, as well as climbing the career ladder to senior positions.

Widening the pay gap even further is the allocation of parental leave. Analysis from the Evening Standard found that fathers taking more parental leave could pave the way for more women to remain in full-time employment. 

Taking years out of employment to care for children can result in women having to take massive steps back in their careers and make it a long journey for them to rise in the ranks compared to men within the same organisation.

“After taking 6 years out of the estate agency industry to look after my three children, I found it impossible to re-enter the industry at a senior level. This was one of the main drivers for me to look at estate agency recruitment, to change the mindset of our sector, promote women at a senior level and support return to work parents” –Nicola Broomham

Embracing flexibility to embrace equity.

The property industry has historically been male-dominated and the Property Reporter suggested that women make up just 15% of the workforce in the property and construction sector, and there are many factors that are affecting this. 

​Specifically, in the estate agency space, weekend work and long hours make it more challenging for women who traditionally take on the responsibility of child care to sustain.

This highlights the need for flexibility which may not just mean the option to work from home, but also flexible hours, part-time hours, and job shares. 

With this, there has been an increase in the appetite for change within the industry.

Research across various studies has shown that organisations that have more women in senior positions and a reduced gender pay gap are more profitable, sustainable, and happier places to work.

Ultimately, taking steps to reduce the gender pay gap will be rewarding for everyone who wants to succeed within the industry and be proud of it.

Listen now to our latest devcast...episode - The future of women in the working world Pt 1: The gender pay gap and why it matters with Nicola Broomham – Director of Client Solutions at deverellsmith, Susan Gregory – Organisational Development Consultant and Ellie Reese – Co-owner and Director at Brickworks.