I was at a women in business brunch today. One solicitor asked for referrals or recommendations of local independent estate agents. The trouble is, she told us, since going back to work after a four year break things have changed. Now, solicitors are very much in the pocket of estate agents. An estate agent refers a buyer for conveyancing, and voila, the solicitor pays a nice £300 or so for the referral. The estate agent can therefore manipulate chains of buyers – ‘use this solicitor, they are great! we use them all the time’ etc etc. Buyers go with this recommendation in the hope that their house purchase will go through smoothly. Extra quick, like. However, if the solicitor is getting a steady stream of work, why speed any one up in favour of another? And why should the buyer look elsewhere for another service (that may be £500 or so cheaper, mind you) if the estate agents selling their dream house recommends that one?
You’d want to do whatever works for you, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t read the small print that states for each referral the solicitor pays the estate agent £300. Because you want the house.
Just like the way I’ve had this really expensive shampoo for ages. It’s meant to HELP my hair, goddammit. I thought – I know I’ll tell the hairdresser this week, this stuff is really dud. Then I read the small print. I’ve just used it the way they recommend instead of the way I assume it works. It’s quite good, actually.
And another thing – the skills and pay gap.
Yes we covered this at the brunch too. God it was depressing. How much talent goes to waste (because we’re female and can have babies, basically) How little flexible roles there are for senior and mid-level execs (because it’s men in senior roles, making all the decisions, obv.)
The mall glimmer of hope was hearing about the 30 Per Cent Club aiming at getting more women in senior decision making roles. And then reading The Sunday Times Magazine and hearing about ‘Come-Back Communities’ – that help retrain and refresh women to get back into the work place.Phew. I bet they are all started by women 😉