For National Women’s Day Suzannah Adcock, Management Surveyor at NG, talks to East Midlands Business Link about the gender pay gap in the commercial property industry:
There is no doubt that a gender pay gap exists in the commercial property industry. This presents issues for the sector, because if it wants to attract the very best talent it must offer equal pay for both genders.
One look at the figures show this isn’t happening. Only around 15% of qualified surveyors are female. That said, I can’t say that I have experienced a pay gap in my career so far. However, I do appreciate that there exists a pay gap in the younger age group working in the commercial property industry, while the greatest gender pay gap can be found in employees aged 46-55 as this is where there is the lowest number of women working within the property industry.
Typically, the gender pay gap becomes most pronounced when women take a career break to have a family or when there is a desire to work flexibly to fit around family commitments. There is no doubt that a woman can carry out the same role as men until this point, after which she may be pushed into a more junior role even though she is just as – and, in some cases – more than capable of carrying out a senior role in the company.
My advice to any women who feel they are being held back by their gender would be to address the issue with their employer. Progress needs to be made to make it easier for women to continue with their career and have a family, and companies need to create a more flexible working environment to boost retention and productivity.
I’m lucky – NG have been very supportive since I started with the firm. When I moved from my previous firm my main aim was to become Chartered and I have been provided with a huge amount of support to enable me to feel that I am ready to sit in the Autumn again.
But this needs to be a wider trend, as the property industry doesn’t have enough women working in it. While I have seen the percentage of women increase in the younger age group since I started working in the industry, there is still a lower number of women working in the industry that are 40- plus. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s make sure females of all ages have a chance to shape the commercial property sector of tomorrow.