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Women in Property

by mel starrs on May 9, 2006

in The Profession

Last Friday I attended a networking lunch organised by the Yorkshire branch of WiP. I’ve been a member for some time, but this is the first event I managed to make it to.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’m not keen on emphasising gender as a ‘club’ to belong to and I’m against perpetuating ‘old boy’s clubs’ in another form.  But rather than a bunch of militant men bashers, I was pleasantly surprised with the diverse range of women there.  Companies represented included Enviros, Barry Crux, Volker Stevin, and Langleys.

Conversation turned to work-life balance, which interestingly is the editorial in BSJ this May (more on that later). Tales from the trenches included horrendous commutes and working countless hours of unpaid overtime.  The general consensus, especially from those who had ‘been there, done it, got the t-shirt’ was that life’s too short and killing yourself for the job wasn’t worth it.  The question which still remains to be answered for me is can women who choose to work part-time compete with their full time male and female counterparts?  This is becoming an increasingly important issue, as a report from the EOC highlighted last September.

And in a related twist to the story, Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, had the following to add to reasons for gender pay disparity in the workplace:

“men are more likely to negotiate for a higher salary than women. All other things being equal, the person who negotiates for more money is more likely to get it.

studies show that the tallest person is usually paid the most. Men are taller than women.

willingness to relocate for a better job or more money

Business travel is often unpleasant, and not everyone is willing to do it. For that reason alone I would expect that business travel is highly correlated with salary and career advancement.

would (they) prefer to be CEO of a major company or enjoy an easier lifestyle with less money. About half of all males say they’d take the CEO option with all of its downsides.
All other things being equal, the person with the most desire will have the best results. “

Now there is no scientific backing to any of his theories (yet), but I think he may be on to something here.  Which begs the question: Is the world rewarding men with more pay because they perform better or because they are more willing to put up with miserable working conditions?

In a buoyant market, pay becomes less of an issue and work-life balance becomes more important, for both women AND men.  As Andy Pearson’s editorial says, it’s time for employers to modernise their employment practices.