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Women starting out in property hardest hit by gender pay gap

People_Little_one_pink_iStock_201207According to the latest survey by RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and McDonald & Company, salaries of UK property professionals have continued to rise at an average increase of 7.1 per cent in 2016, the highest in nine years, however, the gender pay gap for new entrants now stands at 28.7 per cent.

The survey revealed that male property professionals are earning £7,000 pa more on average than their female counterparts (£57,509 versus £45,689). While this gap has closed slightly, from 27.0 per cent last year to 25.9 per cent in 2016, the discrepancy according to the report is evident across all age groups but is most prominent among those aged between 18-22, where the difference in average salary is 28.7 per cent.

The survey also revealed that the competition for talent continues with the average salary increase awarded to respondents who moved employer in the last year reached 16.2 per cent, while the average increase received by respondents under 30 jumped by 12 per cent.

Bonuses awarded to entry level candidates also rose by 79 per cent this year and employees at this level are also most likely to move job – of those who indicated they are likely to look to change roles this year 35 per cent are relatively inexperienced, compared to 19 per cent last year.  

Looking at the picture across the UK – those working in greater London continue to earn, on average, the most (£65,050) and command a premium of 20.8 per cent over the South East and 52.2 per cent over Ireland. The majority of the rest of the UK have indicated only a slight growth in average annual salaries, with the greatest growth seen in Scotland (+2 per cent) and the Midlands (+1 per cent).

Commenting on the results, RICS equalities manager, Justine Wallis-Leggett, said:

“The fact that 64 per cent of respondents reported a rise in salary will offer cold comfort to the many women in the sector, especially those at entry level, who are once again confronted with a significant gender pay gap. The industry must urgently take action to create a more balanced workforce that attracts the best talent if it wants to remain competitive.

“We can achieve this by introducing inclusive working practices such as flexible working. These are key to employee engagement, and in an increasingly competitive market, employers cannot afford to create working environments that only serve the needs of a small majority of the workforce.

RICS is calling on employers to put inclusivity at the heart of what they do by signing up to its Inclusive Employer Quality Mark, designed to help firms gain a competitive advantage and a diverse workforce.

The Inclusive Employer Quality Mark asks employers to pledge their commitment to adopting and continually improving against the following six principles:

  • Leadership and Vision – commitment to increasing the diversity of the workforce
  • Recruitment – engage and attract new people to the industry from under-represented groups; best practice recruitment methods
  • Staff development– training/promotion policies that offer equal opportunities for career progression
  • Staff retention – flexible working arrangements/adaptive working practices
  • Staff engagement – an inclusive culture where all staff engage with developing, delivering, monitoring and assessing the diversity and inclusivity policies
  • Continuous improvement – continually refreshing and renewing the firm’s commitment to being the best employer; sharing and learning from best practice across the industry

Wallis-Leggett concluded:

“Until there is a true commitment to change within the sector, we will continue to see results like these and the subsequent drift of talent away from our sector.”


About Sarah OBeirne


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