Salary equity remains a topic of hot debate, with the differences between male and female earnings being closely scrutinised by the Council of Australian Governments and drawing opinions from a number of industry and social commentators. Real estate, once seen as a predominantly male domain, is seemingly defying a national salary discrepancy to shape as one of the most female friendly industries for wages and opportunity.
PRDnationwide, a real estate franchise with more than 115 offices nationally, takes pride is its balanced workforce that features men and women in prominent roles across all tiers of the business and has seen aspects of its business flourish under the female influence.
The company has a number of franchises owned and operated by women, with PRDnationwide Tumbarumba one of several offices featuring an all-female staff.
Principal Julie Giddings said she felt as a whole that the real estate industry embraced women, but being part of a rural area certainly provided some gender-related challenges.
“I have always found people treat me no differently when it comes to selling residential property, however, I do find it difficult to gain support when it comes to selling rural land, especially larger farms,” Mrs Giddings said.
“I’m not sure if it’s because I’m female and there is a presumption that I don’t know anything about farming or if it is because there is a preference to used companies such as Elders or Westfarmers for rural sales.”
“I am from a farming background and actually own my own farm – before I began in real estate I was a wool classer so my knowledge base is fine, but the perception is different.”
Despite facing these hurdles, Mrs Giddings said real estate offered women with strong work ethic ample opportunities for success.
“Real estate is probably one of the best careers for rewarding the effort you put in. Whether you are male or female, there should be no difference,” she said.
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Employee Earnings and Hours report released in January this year showed that there was a discrepancy of around $70 per week in the earnings of male and female real estate sales agents.
However, this gap is much narrower than that discovered over a broader analysis of earnings by gender across all industries, where the average percentage difference is 33.34%.
Mrs Giddings said that in real estate, women could still pursue a career and balance it with the commitments of family, an area where other industries might not be as accommodating.
“It can depend on the office environment and in which area of real estate you work, but with advances in technology, computer based management programs and the ability for remote computer access there is no reason why you can’t work the hours that suit you and your family,” she said.
“Sales can be a very demanding role, but it also gives you the opportunity to plan your own destiny and your workload.”
PRDnationwide Managing Director Tony Brasier said he recognised the valuable contributions women continue to make to the success of the business and that the company had benefitted from employing a diverse workforce.
“A characteristic of PRDnationwide’s growth has been the many husband and wife partnerships that have established successful real estate franchises within the group,” Mr Brasier said.
“There is a good balance of women within the PRDnationwide family and they were very prominent at our most recent annual awards function, taking home performance awards across all disciplines within the business, including technology, client service, marketing and revenue generation.”
Mr Brasier noted it was no surprise to see women thriving in the real estate environment, given that the key decision-makers in purchasing residential real estate are female.
“It makes sense as a business to employ an increasing number of women who can better relate to our client base,” he said.
“Women have been critical to the ongoing growth and success of our business and they will play a vital role going forward.”