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New report shows real estate industry one of the worst for gender pay equity

A recent survey by BankWest has revealed that there is 29.3 percent gender pay gap between men and women in the real estate industry, translating as one of the worst professions for gender pay equity.

Among other findings of the report:

  • The high gender pay gap in the industry is consistent with the industry’s low percentage of female leaders (22%)

  • The gender pay gaps remain a permanent feature of the Australian labour market, having barely shifted in the last twenty years despite the advances women have made in both educational attainment, workforce participation and legislation prohibiting discriminatory behaviours.

  • Gender pay gaps for organisations with a balanced representation of women in senior leadership roles, at 10 percent on average, are half the size of those with the least representation of women in leadership.
  • Only 6.3% of companies were found to have more female than male board members, with 37% of organisations in total having no female Board representation.

  • The gender pay gap overall grows with seniority, climbing to 26.5 percent for top-tier managers, an annual difference of more than $93,000 in total remuneration.
  • Increasing the representation of women in senior leadership positions is associated with lowering gender pay gaps.

Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) and Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) latest report revealed that the top tier female managers in Australian organisations earned on average $93,000, or 26.5 percent lesser per year in comparison to their male counterparts.

The Gender Equity Insights 2017: Inside Australia’s Gender Pay Gap according to the respective industries.

The report, entitled “Gender Equity Insights 2017: Inside Australia’s Gender Pay Gap”, the second by BCEC and WGEA Gender Equity Insights series, also outlines a measurable link between a gender-balanced leadership team and reduced gender pay gaps.

The analysis of  WGEA’s world leading data by the BCEC explores gender pay gaps across over 12,000 reporting organisations that captures more than four million Australian employees.

The report explores how gender pay gaps vary across industries and occupations, and also includes special investigations on gender pay gaps for graduate program participants, workforce gender segregation and the impact of changing the gender balance in senior leadership over time.

The report’s author and BCEC Principal Research Fellow Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells said the outcomes were a stark indicator of the different ways women and men engaged with the workforce, and how their respective contributions are valued.

“Not only do female-dominated organisations tend to be lower paid, but this analysis shows that in workplaces with heavily female-dominated management teams there are large gender pay gaps in favour of men,” Cassells said.

“It seems that where the men are few, they are more highly valued.”


Report co-author and BCEC Director Professor Alan Duncan said the findings presented strongest empirical evidence that improved gender pay outcomes are driven by companies promoting greater gender equity in senior leadership roles.

“Organisations that increased the share of women in executive leadership roles by more than 10 percent between 2015 and 2016 recorded a reduction in the organisation-wide gender pay gap of 3 percentage points over the course of a single year,” Duncan said.

WGEA director Libby Lyons said it was time to challenge the way we think about work.  

“This report shows that regardless of the industry they choose to work in, women are worse off than men when working full-time,” Lyons said.

“The analysis is clear, gender-balanced workplaces and gender-balanced leadership teams lower the gender pay gap.

“We must address the stereotypes dictating the work women and men ‘should’ do, if Australia is to meet the social and economic challenges in the decades ahead.”

Download the BCEC WGEA Gender Pay Equity Insights 2017 Report

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June Ramli

June Ramli was a in-house journalist for Elite Agent Magazine.