Diversity and inclusion in the commercial real estate (CRE) industry – along with most other leading industries in America – have seemed to move at a snail’s pace. During my 25 years in the industry, I’ve seen firsthand that firms simply aren’t doing enough to recruit diverse candidates.
For a nation that prides itself on inclusion and tolerance in and out of the workplace, ethnic diversity among CRE companies is astoundingly low. White men hold 77.6 percent of CRE senior executive positions, according to the 2013 Commercial Real Estate Diversity Report. Hispanic men hold 2.9 percent of the estimated 13,773 senior-level jobs. For Black males, that number drops to 1.3 percent, or just 178 jobs. There is a clear need for firms to invest in effective diversity recruitment.
Recruiting diverse candidates is not a zero-sum game. While we have long accepted that diversity is prudent when it comes to managing financial assets, CRE organizations are failing to apply that same philosophy to their human capital. Professional ranks of developers and brokerage companies should include the “growth stocks” of the future – talent with diverse skill sets and perspectives that can reap future dividends.