What Women Say About Careers in CRE
Women occupy more senior vice president, managing director and partner roles in commercial real estate, and are more fulfilled with their careers, than ever.
That, according to the 2015 Benchmark Study Report: Women in Commercial Real Estate, by Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network, is one reason that women’s satisfaction with career success – for the first time in CREW Network’s surveying – is exactly equivalent to men’s.
Show me the money. Rising income levels suggest that the industry has recovered from the Great Recession, with total compensation between $100,000-$200,000 surging. The salary gap between women and men is shrinking, although the disparity remains significant at 23.3 percent. In median total compensation, women earned $115,000 compared to $150,000 for men, with the most distinct difference in C-suite packages and within brokerage and development specialties.
Climbing the ladder. Women in CRE are closer to the C-suite than ever, with increased senior-level positions begin filled across the industry. Notably, the percentage of women with direct reports is equal to that of men. But while men’s direct reports were evenly split on the basis of gender, 62 percent of the direct reports to women managers were also women. Women survey respondents viewed relationships with internal senior executives as the primary factor supporting future advancement and listed the lack of a company mentor/sponsor as the largest barrier to career success.
Driving career moves. Taking a new job is largely for compensation or opportunities for advancement, said respondents. Issues like lack of mentorship and concern regarding work/life balance continue to be ranked highly as barriers to success across genders today – and increasingly so among men. The study says that women in the industry continue to place high value on factors related to career advancement and increased responsibilities within their companies. Having a challenging job and reaching a level of career achievement were listed in the top five factors. Number one was job enjoyment.
The bottom line. CREW says that while the survey findings point toward women in commercial real estate have achieved equal or close-to-equal standing as men in many aspects, there’s room for progress, including: (1) The largest inequalities observed are in the income gap and the low numbers of women in C-suite positions; (2) Negotiation skills continue to be important, tempered with a need to take action at the corporate management level to address the persistent bias against female advancement; (3) While women recognize the importance of mentors and sponsors, finding them within their companies continues to be a challenge.
The survey was conducted between March and October 2015, with a response rate of 2,182 individuals, both women and men, in professions that span commercial real estate. Download the full report and read an executive summary on crewnetwork.org.
Kathryn Hamilton, CAE, is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.