Male-Dominated CRE Industry Gains More Women, Holds onto Wage Gap

The commercial real estate industry is made up of more women than it was in 2005, but salary and promotion levels between men and women in the field haven’t changed, according to a new Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network study, “Women in Commercial Real Estate: 2010.” It is a follow-up to the first ever in-depth look at the issue of men and women in commercial real estate, which was conducted by CREW Network in 2005.

The study revealed that a greater number of women are now pursuing careers in commercial real estate. Among other key findings, the wage gap between men and women is narrowing, but still present. More women are now in the $100,000 per year to $250,000 per year salary category in the industry. (Only 8 percent of women surveyed in 2005 were at the $250,000 level; by 2010 that figure had increased to 11 percent.) However, more men than women earn that much in the field.

Men still earn a greater portion of their overall compensation from various forms of variable compensation such as bonuses, stock options, etc. than women do, but both of the sexes are beginning to report that a higher percentage of their total compensation is drawn from base salary--58 percent in 2005 to 67 percent in 2010.

“We are encouraged that more women are finding opportunity in commercial real estate,” said 2010 CREW Network president Kristin E. Blount. Blount is also vice president and partner, Brokerage, at Colliers, Meredith & Grew in Boston. CREW’s study shows that growing numbers of women are choosing a commercial real estate career but work still needs to be done to achieve true parity, said Mike Lafitte, president, Americas, at CB Richard Ellis. The commercial real estate services firm supported CREW in their effort.

The study was administered by the Cornell University Program in Real Estate to more than 2900 individuals in a wide variety of specialties within commercial real estate. Respondents were reached through 13 professional associations serving various aspects of commercial real estate.