Gender earning and wage gaps continue to persist in all industries, professions and levels of the economy. In real estate, an industry where women represent 62% of all agents and 56% of all brokers, according to the National Association of Realtors, the gender earnings ratio for women is 66% compared to that of men. (Gender earnings gap ratio provided by Women’s Policy Research.)
Compare this real estate industry gender earnings gap to the gender wage gap within today’s overall workplace. According to the latest research at the Stanford Business School, all women continue to earn 74% of men’s earnings. 66% and 74%! Both percentages are appalling.
Perhaps the real estate industry will be able to rectify its gaping earnings ratios by enabling more women to sit at the negotiating table with the “big boys” when prices and terms for high end, luxury properties are being negotiated. Unfortunately, just as these gender earnings and wage gaps persist, so do biases concerning who is selected to sit at the negotiating table. According to a 2016 joint study by Katherine Milkman of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Module Akinola of the Columbia Business School and Dolly D. Chugh at NYU’s Stern School of Business, women are ignored before they even have a chance to begin negotiating for their clients and/or for themselves. In fact, all women, minorities and men showed favoritism towards men when given the opportunity to choose their negotiator…they all chose men.
So, what’s a woman to do? In real estate, as in all professions and industries, according to the Stanford Business School, a woman must:
- Be better informed. Do more and better research, have more data and be better equipped than anyone else in the room so that both the office powers that be and the clients know you’re ready and willing to negotiate any size deal whenever they’re ready to do so.
- Trust that the clients involved want to get deals done…when they see you in gear once, they’ll want you in gear negotiating on their behalf again and again.
- Be collaborative.
- Use the word “We,” not the word “I.”
- Learn to package the deal so that each aspect of the deal is part of the bundle; part of the solution for you to trade.
- Practice and role play your negotiating strategies.
- Remember that women are newer to real estate than men despite there being more women in the profession. You are one of the women who will enable the profession to “adapt” faster.