• Mon. Nov 28th, 2022

Gender equality in the commercial real estate sector

ByWillie M. Evans

Jul 14, 2022

By Pay Wu, President, MWBE Unite, Inc.

Gender equity is sometimes misinterpreted with the pursuit of gender equality – While the two are important, they are not the same. The difference is in the results; equality arises when the same resources are made available to all parties, while equity is achieved through resources offered according to the respective needs of disadvantaged groups.

These terms apply to both race and gender, with equity playing a crucial role because the professional needs of women differ from those of men. This isn’t a universal truth across all professions, but it certainly is in the commercial real estate industry. Women represent only a small portion of the commercial real estate workforce – a tiny fraction that has not changed despite ongoing efforts to adopt hiring practices, work environments, options health care and more equitable training options.

Today, more women are entering college and earning degrees in engineering, technology, architecture, and design than ever before. While progress has been made, questions remain as to why there aren’t more women in corporate real estate (CRE) and why there aren’t more in the executive ranks. There are less than 15% white women in leadership positions, and less than 1% of those positions are held by BIPOC women. Diversity in commercial real estate – from the perspective of executives who are women and people of color

Long-standing and evolving challenges

Today’s obstacles, including those that extend beyond commercial real estate, take longer than others to overcome. Just as fairness is the first step to achieving equality, getting more women into the real estate industry – and beyond – is key to expanding the pool of talented, qualified women who can eventually advance to higher positions. and more influential. Today, women represent only 9 percent C-suite positions in the commercial real estate industry.

A goal to pursue

Commercial real estate companies not only claim they are increasing the pipeline while hiring and retention practices have improved – but perhaps the problems are both structural and organic. Business continues to be made not only in the boardrooms, but also on the grounds, in the golf carts and at the yacht club. The culture of the industry is very much a dog-eating-dog culture, and as Sheryl Sandberg puts it so well in her book, women have “gave up or backed down” long before they even entered the arena. In this case, we need a radical change, not a false commitment or a briefing note.

On a positive note, however, buying behavior is changing and diversity is being sought at the transaction level as well as at the team level, and by various vendors. Customers start making those demands that lead to change.

In addition, the CRE as an industry remains one of the sectors, in the same way as management consulting, where women can manage the stages of life and integrate without flinching. Cultural adaptations such as creating a cohort and support, as well as a community and network where examples of what it looks like and how work life integration is juggled while having a place to sharing ideas are the kinds of implementations we need where women can lean in, not walk away, retreat for lack of support and opportunity. Companies must take responsibility for providing and supporting these structures. When I see more women in leadership positions that day, I’ll be proud to bring my daughter to work.