Women comprise about 36.7% of commercial real estate professionals but hold just 9% of C-suite positions, according to the latest study by the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network.
The 2020 figures show that little progress has been made in the past decade, and there’s much work to do for women to achieve parity. Conducted in partnership with the MIT Center for Real Estate, the “2020 CREW Network Benchmark Study: Gender and Diversity in Commercial Real Estate” is the fourth comprehensive study by the Crew Network.
The report also reveals that women still face a substantial wage gap. They earn 10% less than men in base salaries, and the gap is even wider for Asian, Black, and Hispanic/Latinx women.
Only 16% of respondents reported that 25% or more of the professionals in their workplace are Black, indigenous, and people of color.
However, some of the findings show that progress may be coming. The study saw a 5.4% increase in women respondents 39 years and younger, indicating a growing generation of young and emerging women professionals in the industry. In addition, more women (32%) are aspiring to the C-suite, a 4% increase from 2015.
In the affordable housing industry, women have been at the helm of a number of leading organizations. And, this year, several more women have or are about to step into top roles, including Amy Albery, who is poised to become CEO of Wallick Communities, and Catherine Cawthon, who became the new president and CEO of the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing.
“When you’re given an opportunity that you don’t have all the answers for, and that scares you to death, say yes,” Albery advises other women. “Seize that opportunity.”
“Find your voice and speak out,” adds Sandra Brooks Henriquez, CEO of the Detroit Housing Commission. “As in any profession, learn your craft and then put it to work. As women, we need to remind ourselves that we are good and we are good enough to do this work as well as anyone else can.”
To raise the visibility of women in affordable housing and the significant contributions they make, Affordable Housing Finance is highlighting 10 leaders in the industry.