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Gender pay gap closes in the rewarding real estate and built environment sector

The latest RICS and Macdonald & Company Rewards and Attitudes Survey has found that the sectoral gender pay gap has closed during the past year, as more women are attracted to the industry and more attain senior positions. It also found that working in the real estate and built environment industry has many other appealing benefits for a better work/life balance.

Last year’s gender pay gap figures (April 2018) showed that the UK’s biggest companies paid men an average of 18.4% more than women1 . Additionally, the construction industry was one of the poorest for pay disparity, with women paid 36% less than men2 . RICS has been a leading voice in the drive to close the gender pay gap in the construction industry. The 2019 RICS and Macdonald & Company Rewards and Attitudes Survey suggests that good headway has been made, though more effort is required.

The gender pay gap between median salaries across the industry is now 18.6%, according to the results of 3,461 respondents to the survey vs last year’s survey which was significantly higher (. However, this all-encompassing figure hides some very marked contrasts. In many areas the gender pay gap is below the national average published in April 2018, and in investment/corporate banking, women now earn approximately 13% more than their male counterparts. Other areas in which the pay gap is markedly less than the national average include:

  • Architectural/design practice –10.86%
  • Education – 6.66%
  • Occupier/end user – 7.80%
  • Investor/funds – 14.33%
  • Residential/block management – 14.29%
  • Central/local government – 12.50%

In the construction sector itself, tremendous headway is being made. The results of the survey have found that the gender pay gap has narrowed to 20.43%. This narrowing is most clear at younger age groups. For example, in London, female respondents to the survey working in construction in London 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:

  • At age range 36 to 45, men and women both receive an average an average base salary of £70,000
  • In the age range of 46 to 55, men are paid an average base salary of £83,000, while women receive just £64,000 salary on average

A similar pattern emerges when examining the data at the industry wide level. The older the age group, the wider the pay disparity between men and women, as shown in the following table:

These statistics indicate the pay gap is closing as awareness of the issue improves and as the number of females in the industry increases. More women are now entering the industry at earlier ages, and the pay gap is markedly less the younger the age group.

While it might be expected that this pattern would follow though to the 56 to 65 age group and then beyond, the sharp narrowing at this age could be explained by greater numbers of more senior males leaving the industry and taking retirement benefits after they have attained the age of 55 and above.

Turning to bonuses paid, there is evidence that average bonuses paid to men are greater than those paid to women. This summary shows that bonuses are larger within every age group:

The survey also asked respondents to note other benefits for which they are eligible. The results indicate that the industry is becoming more accommodative to the work/life balance needs of talented female workers. Such benefits include:

  • Working from home (46% eligible to receive) 
  • Flexible hours (35%)                 Family healthcare (22%) 
  • Employer pension (74%)          Critical illness/life cover (37%)

consultancies and contractors. Macdonald & Company is the preferred recruitment partner of RICS - the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Macdonald & Company is a subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange quoted Prime People Plc.

Key Contacts

Peter Moore, MRICS
Group Chief Executive Officer, Macdonald & Company
Prime People PLC

About Peter Moore

Peter worked for Strutt & Parker from 1992 to 1995, qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor in 1994.He joined Macdonald & Company in 1995 and was appointed Managing Director in 1996. Under Peter’s management Macdonald & Company has become the largest and most respected real estate focused recruitment provider worldwide and a RICS’s recruitment partner. Peter specialises in advising organisations and professionals in areas such as career planning, organisational structure, remuneration and reward. Peter is author of the Property Career Guide.

For comments, data and analysis, please contact:

John JB Russell  Group Marketing Director  Prime People PLC  Main: 02076297220  DDI: 02073185878 

Macdonald & Company, 2, Harewood Place, London, W1S 1BX

About RICS

RICS promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the valuation, development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. Our name promises the consistent delivery of standards - bringing confidence to markets and effecting positive change in the built and natural environments.

For more information:

Rebecca Hunt, Head of Media & Communications

0207 334 3831 /

1Source (commentary on ONS statement April 2018)