A RECENT survey has found that the gender pay gap has closed in the construction sector during the past year, with more women becoming attracted to the idea of a career in the industry.
The 20th RICS and Macdonald & Company Rewards and Attitudes survey found that the overall gender pay gap between median salaries across property and the built environment is now 18.6%, according to the 3,461 UK respondents. Also revealed was the narrowing pay gap in the construction sector with figures highlighting a gap of 20.43%, down from last year’s 36%. Last year’s gender pay gap figures (April 2018) showed that the construction industry was one of the poorest for pay disparity.
Positive action can also be seen in younger age groups where the gap is also narrowing. For example, in London, female respondents to the survey working in construction are paid an average base salary of £43,000, whereas their male counterparts are paid less at £37,500. As the age of respondents increases, the disparity reverses in favour of men. However, men still gain more in bonus payments across the board, and large disparity is visible in younger age groups.
To allow for a more balanced and diverse work force, the survey asked respondents to note other benefits for which they are eligible. The results indicate that the industry is becoming more accommodative to work/life balance needs. Such benefits include working from home (46% of respondents are eligible to receive); flexible hours (35%); family healthcare (22%); Employer pension (74%); Critical illness/life cover (37%).
Barry Cullen, RICS Diversity and Inclusion Director, commented: “The latest Rewards and Attitudes Survey certainly demonstrates that progress is being made, but there is still a long way to go, and we’re disappointed in the difference between male and female bonus figures across the board.
“There is still a need to reflect on the departure of women mid-career, the encouraging signs would seem to be that workplace culture is changing to meet the needs of a modern workforce, requiring greater flexibility. This should be further supported by firms of all sizes to ensure that women are retained and are able to progress, only by more women accessing senior leadership roles will the gender pay gap be reduced even further.”
Speaking about the survey, Peter Moore, CEO of Macdonald & Company, said: “Closing the gender pay gap is not an issue that can be solved overnight. However, headway is being made across most sectors of our industry. As more women are encouraged into the real estate and the built environment realm, I expect the pay gap to close further throughout their careers.
“Policies such as flexible working and working from home are key strategies to encourage women into the sector, as is better training and education. This is a battle not only for the industry, but also for government to fight.
“Other strategies helping to close the divide include positive discrimination at the hiring stage, tracking gender balance, partnering with educators, and greater support for women who return from maternity leave.”