An insightful piece within Architects Journal this week highlighted that the gender pay-gap still exists within Architectural businesses, and at its worst there's a gap of over 50% between men and women at the top of the profession.
And I'm afraid Architecture isn't the only area of the Property and Construction Industry where this gap exists, the article linked below within the Construction Index shows the issue goes across engineering, surveying, management and construction.
The situation is slowly improving in some areas, but not fast enough.
I recognise I can't directly relate to the issues women face in our industry, the gender and culture bias within the sector works in my favour; but having had to deal with other forms of discrimination in my career, it is something I do have some understanding of.
So, what can be done?
Existing initiatives such as National Women in Engineering day and #notjustforboys help to promote the industry in a positive light, and role models like Roma The Engineer are doing a fantastic job of sharing their experiences and helping others, but there are potentially some other ways we can impact the situation:
- Require companies to publish the pay gap within their business - I'm not a fan of publishing salaries, I think it removes the commercial relationship an employer and employee have, but publishing pay gaps within grades of staff is one way this data can come to light and be reviewed more openly. Would you apply for a firm where you know you'll be paid 50% less than your peers?
- Put government legislation in place to promote equal pay - there is existing legislation in place, the Equality Act being the cornerstone, but having a requirement for companies to show intent on resolving the issue; much like the Public Services (Social Value) Act has done for social impact, will go a long way.
- Centralise industry funding and effort - central funding pots to support initiatives have gone some way to address other issues such as training and skills, and announcements of cross-industry support for sharing technology through the i3P initiative (with £25k annual input per company) show that there is a will within the industry to work together to solve major problems facing our future.
Of course, the simplest mechanism is for companies to act fairly and reasonably, but with such an entrenched gap, there is certainly a lot more to do to tackle the issue.
Construction & building trades supervisors have the highest gender pay gap in favour of men, with men paid 45.4% more than women. In no other industry is there such a gulf in wages.