Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Women's Pay

There is a very interesting article in this morning's New York Times about the slowing of equal pay for women in the work force.  The gap between men's pay and women's decreased steadily for several decades, but has now stopped, as has the entrance of more women into the workforce.  There are many reasons for the persistent discrepancy, with about 9%, according to one study, being due to discrimination.

It's different in real estate.  We're the original "equal pay for equal work" profession.  Even when women were discriminated against in sales situations, we still paid the same amount to women for the sales they had. It may be surprising to some to know that women were once the minority in the real estate agent pool, because that dynamic has shifted completely.  In fact, one of the major factors in that shift is the fact that women could go into real estate without having to work next to a man who was getting paid more for the same work.  In addition, child care, which was cited in today's article as still being the cause of some of the remaining pay differential, is less of an issue in real estate, where the hours and days are flexible.

There is a downside to real estate pay, of course.  You only get paid when something sells or leases.  Agents receive a commission at the closing or signing, and a 1099 at the end of the year, so they are responsible for many of their own expenses and taxes.  We "eat what we kill", from a compensation point of view, so not everyone can afford to enter this field, because you have to spend money while you are getting up to speed.  But it's nice to know that, when you do succeed, you won't be dependent upon someone else to decide what you will earn.  When you combine that with the flexibility, variety, and the satisfaction of being your own boss, we expect to see a lot more younger people--both men and women--turn to real estate as a career.