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Publication Date : 11-03-2013
Results based on a global survey of more than 2,000 well-off individuals - 500 from Asia, including 100 in Singapore
You may be spot on if you think that women tend to earn less than men in similar roles but the opposite holds true when it comes to entrepreneurs.
High-net-worth female entrepreneurs can earn about 14 per cent more than their male counterparts, according to new research from Barclays Wealth & Investment Management.
Yet the average pay of a high- net-worth female employed in a company is about 21 per cent less than her male counterpart.
The results, which were based on a global survey of more than 2,000 well-off individuals - 500 from Asia, including 100 in Singapore - suggest that women do better when they run their own show. Women, it also found, figure prominently among the most successful entrepreneurs.
While Asia has a higher proportion of entrepreneurs compared with the United States and Europe, males easily outnumber females.
A possible stumbling block is that women entrepreneurs may find it more difficult to tap into sources of finance, says the Barclays report.
Barclays behavioural finance specialist Peter Brooks says this is possibly because men can present their ideas and negotiate better.
"The men may be more successful with their more aggressive, forthright approach," Dr Brooks said at a briefing last week.
Association of Women for Action and Research executive director Corinna Lim notes: "It is possible that women earn less than their male counterparts because they may not be as assertive about negotiating salaries.
"Socialisation encourages men to be assertive, competitive and take risks, but not women. Women are still socialised to be submissive and accommodating and may not negotiate for higher salaries as aggressively as men might."
One solution for women is to get the men to present their case when it comes to sourcing for finance, says Dr Brooks.
"The experts advise that women learn to delegate. Find somebody who can do the job for you."
What is also holding some women back could be their view on failure. Not many think that failing to get what you want can be a valuable experience.
But entrepreneurs need to embrace the concept that they may fail, as failure can be an important source of information, says Dr Brooks.
The Barclays report also found that high-net-worth women are less likely to choose high-risk, high-return investments.
"There's an awkward downstream effect. It means women may take slightly less risks, put less capital in their business. They don't tend to invest in capital-intensive start-ups," says Dr Brooks.
This tendency to avoid competition means they are more likely to favour sectors with low barriers of entry. They end up in highly competitive industries, like in food and beverage, where failure rates are incredibly high, he says.
On the other hand, the more cautious approach of female entrepreneurs can help minimise the danger of excessive risk-taking.
The key is to be aware of your own propensity for risk and surround yourself with people who have different attitudes towards it, says Dr Brooks.
At the end of the day, it is not a matter of having male opinions and female opinions, he says.
"It is a matter of increasing the likelihood of having diverse opinions feed into decisions in order to secure the best outcome."