Sam Massey, Founding Member and Business Development Manager at HML Holdings, puts forward her view about the gender pay gap and how this is impacting women in our industry. A big issue that needs a resolution, but is transparency the key? Authored by Sam Massey.
The gender pay gap: we all know it exists, but it can be hard to know if we’re affected by it directly.
How do you find out if the man sat next to you doing the same job, the same hours with the same experience is paid the same as you? The answer is in most cases we don’t know.
The thought of asking a colleague how much they earn makes you cringe inside, and the same goes for telling them your salary.
But admit it — you really do want to know. Letting people know what we earn might makes us feel uncomfortable, but isn’t it less uncomfortable than wondering if you’re being discriminated against or being paid fairly?
A recent RICS salary survey found that male property professionals earn almost 26% more than female counterparts. I felt it throughout my own career. There was a time, I thought that by creating pay secrecy about salaries, was a way for companies to save a lot of money and ignore the discrimination that’s present in the market today.
There seems to be an assumption that if all employees within a firm knew each other’s salarie
s, there’d be arguments, complaints and some people might even resign.
But I’d like to suggest another possibility, that transparency might actually be a
company’s biggest virtue.
With the government committing to closing the gap by bringing in new legislation it might actually increase the feelings of fairness inside a company.
Consideration should also be given to whether the lack of promotions for women is fuelling the gender pay gap. XpertHR content director Mark Crail said: “The gender pay gap is not primarily about men and women being paid differently for doing the same job. It’s much more about men being present in greater numbers than women the higher up the organisation you go.”
This is evident in our industry, you simply need to attend any industry event to notice the lack of senior and prominent female role models. One of the reasons ‘Doyenne’ was set up was to identify positive female role models both for the industry and the women within it.
So what’s the answer? What can companies do to propel us towards the day when we don’t have to talk about the gender pay gap anymore? Companies need to educate hiring and performance review managers on the key issues surrounding pay parity. It is necessary to ensure that job offers should be based on the role, not on a previous salary and no discrimination of any sort should occur during the hiring process.
The time will come when we won’t have to concern ourselves and equal pay will be just the way it is. But until that day, we need to continue to “mind” the gap and make sure such practices are exposed. Now, we must try and protect each other. Together we can reward those fair employers by the choices we make.