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Europe has the smallest gender pay gap with a difference of 15 per cent between men estate agents who took home an average annual salary of about 64,000 and women who brought in 54,000. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters
Europe has the smallest gender pay gap with a difference of 15 per cent between men estate agents who took home an average annual salary of about 64,000 and women who brought in 54,000. Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

Gender gap with female estate agents paid less than men

Region struggles to address a gender pay difference far bigger than that in Europe, Asia or the UK.

Women estate agents in the Middle East earn 36.7 per cent less than their male colleagues as the industry struggles to address a gender pay gap far bigger than in Europe, Asia or the United Kingdom.

According to the recruitment specialist Macdonald & Company, men in the property industry in the Arabian Gulf countries earn the equivalent of 79,000 (Dh444,407) a year. Their female counterparts bring home 50,000.

The survey, which was compiled with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, found that in Asia men in the industry earn on average 67,000 - 29 per cent more than women. And in the UK the gap is 21.6 per cent, with men earning an average of 51,000.

Europe was the region with the smallest gender pay gap, with a difference of 15 per cent between men, who took home an average annual salary of about 64,000, and women, who brought in 54,000.

The news comes just a month after International Women's Day was celebrated in the UAE and around the world with much fanfare.

"Certainly most of the more senior positions in the property industry in the Middle East tend to be filled by men," said Ben Waddilove, a director in Macdonald & Co's Dubai office. "We can only really speculate as to why that is and what needs to be done to address the difference."

The findings come as part of an annual survey of 1,058 men and women employed in the property industry, which revealed that the average monthly basic salary for property professionals in the Middle East fell by 4.4 per cent over the past year to Dh36,293.

In total it found that pay packets in the property industry have dwindled 7.4 per cent since the boom days of 2008, when the average stood at Dh39,200 a month.

"The property industry in Dubai may be improving a little, but around the world things are still pretty tough," added Mr Waddilove. "Employers know that all over the world there are more candidates out there than jobs, so they are able to pay less."

The survey found that the majority of respondents (46 per cent) had their salaries frozen over the past year. Another 35 per cent said they had received a pay increase over the past year compared with just 30 per cent the previous year. The proportion of respondents reporting a pay cut fell from 5 per cent last year to 3 per cent.

But it found that property professionals in the Middle East are still receiving the highest salaries in the entire Europe, Middle East and Asia region.

lbarnard@thenational.ae

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