One of the dubious advantages of being in journalism is that, unlike many other professions, there’s not that noticeable a pay gap between men and women - we’re all paid equally badly.
Before you collectively gasp at my professional recklessness in seemingly calling out my employer, let me stress this is not a reflection on publishers particularly, and certainly not the one I work for; it’s a function of the market. Despite the low pay, journalism is still one of the most popular professions around, so on the whole employers don’t need to pay loads to attract high-calibre staff. Like teachers and nurses, most of us regard journalism as more of a vocation than a passport to riches and there’s a fairly even split between men and women, so women can compete on a more even playing field for what rewards there are.
If only the same (minus the low-pay bit) could be said of the property industry. As our salary survey reveals, the gender pay gap has shrunk from 27% last year to 25.9%, but is still alarmingly wide and significantly bigger than the UK average of 20%.
The industry needs to sort its act out. We’re in 2016, people - not 1916. Women should not be paid more than a quarter less than their male counterparts. It is totally (insert preferred swear word here) unacceptable.
If I were a bloke, you’d probably say I was being assertive. As I’m a woman, you’re probably thinking I’m being aggressive. It’s called gender bias and we’re all guilty of it, even women it turns out (depressingly). Recent research found that students rated male professors more highly than their female counterparts, with female students rating them more highly particularly on stereotypically male qualities.
It’s not all doom and gloom in property. In the 46-55 age group, the pay gap has more than halved in the past year, from 28.8% to 14.3%, and it has also narrowed slightly in the 36-45 age group, from 23.05% to 22.7%. But ominously, among 26- to 30-year-olds, it has shot up from 6.4% to 17.5%. If I were entering the profession now, it wouldn’t exactly inspire me with confidence. You?
The biggest, not necessarily best
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if pay correlated not with gender but performance? A gap - make that a gulf - has emerged between the best- and worst-paid chiefs at the helms of the biggest listed companies and unfortunately the best paid are at the biggest rather than best-performing firms. It doesn’t exactly bode well if we are hurtling towards another downturn as Alastair Stewart suggests this week when he utters the ‘C-word’… as in crash.
The best, not necessarily biggest
But let’s not end on a low. I’m delighted to say that we have once again had a record number of entries to the Property Awards. Now our expert panel of judges just have to decide the winners. It ain’t gonna be easy.