CREW Network's 2020 Benchmark Study
found that there is a 34% overall gender pay gap in the commercial real estate sector. This is an 11% increase since the study was last undertaken in 2015 – a clear indicator that we are going backwards in this area.
But why is this happening? There’s clear unconscious – and sometimes even conscious – bias from both men and women and this is what has formed the deep chasm between male and female compensation across the industry. People promote and reward others that look like themselves, and this is a deep-rooted psychological phenomenon.
The uncomfortable truth is though, that we allow it. Companies will pay us not what we deserve, but what we negotiate. That’s why it’s important that we take personal responsibility for this, rather than blaming large corporations. All businesses, large and small, will accept paying a woman 30% less than her male counterpart for commercial reasons rather than personal. So, how can a woman negotiate on her own behalf?
- Be confident
This is something that can be learned – it’s not a skill that we are born or brought up with, especially as women in the society we live in. Coaching really helps with this, so if you can find yourself a great mentor or career coach, you’re already on the right track.
- Do what makes you happy
Building confidence is about feeling good in yourself, and that means honing your skills at home, not just in the workplace. This could be through the enjoyment of hobbies or sport, and by creating meaningful, fulfilling relationships in your life that inspire you to be better and do better. Be ruthless about who you spend your time with.
- Leverage your network
Arm yourself with key information and knowledge before entering a negotiation by harnessing the power of your network, both internally and externally. This could include anything from pay and renumeration packages for varying levels, to maternity pay, flexible working requests, changes to company culture, and more. And further to this, the more you increase your profile and visibility within the company and the wider market, the higher your value is to your employer.
- Ask, otherwise you won’t get
Taking this view, and using this common phrase with whoever you’re negotiating with almost verbatim, is proven to be highly effective — it’s likely that they’ve used this tactic in the past to get what they want, too. Make sure that you send a well-crafted email first setting out your achievements – as sometimes you do need to spell it out – and politely state in black and white what your expectations are for the negotiation. You can also refer back to this email during the discussion rather than allowing emotion to take over – which is hard to do at times.
Be persistent and make sure the meeting goes in the diary and that it doesn’t keep getting delayed or put off – if you allow this, it only creates more frustration.
- Believe in yourself, and your abilities
Just because your company might not value the skills that you bring to the table doesn’t mean that another organisation won’t. Be proactive, optimistic, and keep an open mind – the best role could still be out there waiting for you. Stand firm on your position and don’t compromise where you’re not comfortable to – nobody else will look out for you as much as you look out for yourself.
More often than not, we settle for less than we deserve, but armed with these top tips, you can go highly prepared into your next negotiation and be confident that you’ll get a favourable outcome – whatever happens.
Written by: Rebekah Tobias, Head of Business Development, MARCOL
Thank you to Rebekah for providing these valuable insights. Our series of virtual events about Negotiation Skills, will continue soon. To learn more about CREW UK events visit https://crewuk.org/events.