CREW Network Benchmark Study Calls Industry to Take Action for Gender Parity, Greater Diversity in Commercial Real Estate

September 2, 2020
Written by: CREW Network

Lawrence, KansasThe 2020 CREW Network Benchmark Study: Gender and Diversity in Commercial Real Estate, is a wakeup call—and a call to action for the commercial real estate industry. Study results indicate that our collective efforts to achieve parity in the industry are far from complete—in fact, very little progress has been made in the last five years.

The study, conducted in partnership with the MIT Center for Real Estate, measures progress for women over the last 15 years, capturing critical industry-wide data and benchmarking diversity in commercial real estate. It is the fourth comprehensive study by Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network, the leading producer of research on gender and diversity in the industry, since 2005.

“We are calling on executives who can affect change to take this study seriously and take action in their company and in the industry,” said CREW Network CEO Wendy Mann. “CREW Network remains committed to creating a more diverse, equal and inclusive industry—but we can’t do it alone. Industry leaders must address these issues as a business imperative—and take action now to make this important investment in our companies, our employees, and the future of our industry to remain a competitive and attractive employer.”

 “As an industry, commercial real estate clearly has a lot of work ahead in order to create a level playing field for women and minorities,” said Sadhvi Subramanian, a Capital One senior vice president and Mid-Atlantic Market Manager who helped facilitate the bank’s support of the research. “CREW Network’s work in shining a light on these disparities is crucial. Capital One is happy to serve as CREW Network Industry Research Program Partner and underwriter of this year’s study. Change can only happen when we work together as an industry.” 

Key findings from the study:

  • Women occupy 36.7% of the commercial real estate industry. This percentage has remained between 35-37% over the last 15 years.

  • The study saw a 5.4% increase in women respondents 39 years old and younger, indicating a growing generation of young and emerging women professionals in the industry.

  • More women occupy brokerage than ever before (29%), a 6% increase from 2015.

  • Women’s career satisfaction level is the lowest since the study began in 2005. Fifty-five percent of women are very satisfied with their career.

  • Only 16% of respondents reported that 25% or more of the professionals in their workplace are Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). However, more than half of respondents have noticed a culture shift regarding diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Overall, the difference in total average compensation (salaries, bonuses and commission combined) across genders is 34%—a nearly 11% increase from 2015.

    • The fixed salary gap between genders is 10.2% and the commission and bonus gap is a staggering 55.9%:

      • Women earn 10% less than men in base salaries. The gap is wider for Asian women (14%) Black women (15%) and Hispanic/Latinx women (20%).

      • Women earn 56% less than men from commissions and bonuses. The gap is wider for Black women (71%), Asian women (73%), and Hispanic/Latinx women (74%).

    • While the compensation gap wider is for women of color, gaps vary by race at different career levels and specializations.

“I am dismayed by the extreme disparity in compensation for women of color in this industry,” stated Mann. “We have to do better for women of color and it starts by recognizing their barriers to equal pay, opportunities and success.”

CREW Network consulted external sources to further explore the significant bonus and commission disparity. A 2019 pay study conducted by the ADP Research Institute that tracked 11,000+ professionals over six years found that the average bonus amount for women was less than two-thirds of the amount paid to men who had equivalent base pay, age, and tenure. The Personal Salary website, a comprehensive database of real estate industry compensation by market and position, reports a 9% base salary gap and 28% overall bonus/commission gap.

A total of 2,930 industry professionals across all commercial real estate sectors in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries participated in the study, a 34% overall increase from 2015. The 2020 study was open from January 2, 2020 to March 31, 2020. All participant responses and market conditions are considered pre-COVID-19.

This project was made possible by Capital One, CREW Network Industry Research Program Partner and leading underwriter of the 2020 study; Platinum Underwriter ICSC; Senior Underwriter NMHC; and Associate Underwriter SIOR.

About CREW Network

CREW Network is the premier business network dedicated to transforming the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally. Our members are 12,000 professionals in 75+ markets worldwide and represent all disciplines of commercial real estate. Learn more at

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