Many studies have shown that women are paid less than men and the reporting of gender pay figures further has emphasised this.
In the property industry, men earn on average 25% more than women, which means that, appallingly, women on a pure earnings basis have less to invest than men. This topic has rightly gained significant coverage in recent months, but there is still a long way to go to address this problem. The government legislation on gender pay gap reporting has been helpful, but could be lowered to include companies with 100 employees.
Cultural norms mean that often within couples, men take investment and pension decisions; some reports have found that men are five times more likely to prioritise investments than women. This is ironic, as studies show that women make better investors, showing greater loyalty and holding investments for longer periods of time.
Studies also show women are more risk-averse when it comes to investing. Financial services companies and further legislation could do more to overcome these reservations by promoting clarity, both on communicating risk and on the terms of the investment.
The good news is that some of these industry problems can be overcome with the application of technology. Online investment can offer more control and flexibility over investments without paying middlemen, or in some cases enduring aggressive sales tactics.
The way potential women investors interact with Brickowner’s pages shows that standardised, clear and objective information is more effective at conveying risks and benefits. This reflects a rise in the number of female investors using our platform as we have made further changes since launching a year ago.
It is not only right to reduce the gender investment gap; it also makes excellent business sense to pay more attention to many investors who have been overlooked for too long. Female investors will rightly become a major consideration across all areas of investment and consequently our own development.
Fred Bristol, founder and chief executive, Brickowner
True extent of the property pay gap begins to emerge
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Pay gap leaves women with less money to invest