Building the CRE Workforce of the Future

2022 CREW Network research paper provides insight into workforce priorities post-COVID and building a workplace that is more equitable and inclusive

More than two years into a global pandemic, employers and workers across the globe are still trying to figure out how to navigate the new normal. Add into the mix a more challenging geo-political landscape, growing concerns about a recession as inflation rises, and a strained supply chain, it’s no wonder businesses are often struggling to attract and retain talent.

The post-COVID workplace has experienced a significant shift in how employees view work. This new way of thinking touches on job security, pay equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

Women need policies supportive of their life both at home and at work. Female leaders need mentors and sponsors, and initiatives designed to groom them into the C-suite. Hybrid work will continue to be a sought-after option for many employees. Finding talent will take new ways of finding and evaluating candidates.

CREW Network’s 2022 industry research paper, Building the CRE Workforce of the Future, examines the current state of the commercial real estate (CRE) workplace and what employees want for the future and a more inclusive and equitable industry. The following insights were taken from CREW Network’s summer 2022 survey of more than 1,200 CRE professionals across five countries, in more than 25 specializations and 10 sectors.

Key Research Insights

  • Notable demographics of survey participants include:
    • 96% identified as women
    • 18% identified as mixed race or non-white
    • 11% identified as having a disability that impacts their work
  • More than 92% of respondents said their companies are inclusive, referring to inclusivity as “the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those having disabilities or belonging to other minority groups.”
    • 48% - Very inclusive
    • 44% - Somewhat inclusive
    • 8% - Not at all inclusive
  • 29% of respondents said that women in their work location have left their company voluntarily in the last two years as a result of the pandemic, an increase from 2021 (24%). Of the 29% who said that women left their work location, 95% reported that the women who left have not returned.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, 1 in 4 (27%) of professionals surveyed have taken a new job at another CRE company.
  • Only 56% of 2022 survey respondents said they had access to a mentor or sponsor in the last two years. The number was significantly lower for people of color—only 21% had a mentor or sponsor in the last two years.
  • 88% of respondent’s companies are actively trying to hire talent. The greatest challenges in filling positions are the lack of qualified candidates (28%) and the overall lack of talent applying (25%) as the top challenges.
  • The majority of current work arrangements in CRE are hybrid/flexible:
    • 68% of respondents are hybrid/flexible and spend time working both in the office and remotely
    • 26% are required to be in a physical office space
    • 6% are 100% remote
  • 70% of CRE professionals favor working for a company with flexible work arrangements. This is a slight increase from a year ago (68%).
  • 67% believe that their company has adapted to meet the changing needs of the workforce.
  • 76% of respondent companies have policies or benefits to support employee mental health and wellbeing. Employee Assistance Programs were the most common company benefits that support employee mental health and wellbeing. The leading policy or benefit that respondents wished their company would offer is mental health benefits.
  • CRE professionals prioritized the following ways industry leaders can advance women and people from other underrepresented groups:
  • 34%– Conduct equal pay assessments and make adjustments as needed
  • 27% – Institute more flexible work policies
  • 19% – Actively recruit women and other underrepresented individuals to the workforce
  • 11% – Increase professional development support/funding
  • 8% – Offer additional assistance to employees to support family care, mental health, wellbeing, etc.

Action guide and best practices
The publication includes a comprehensive action guide for company leaders to take actions now that will pay dividends in the future; and for women and other underrepresented groups in CRE to leverage new opportunities in the work environment to advance, gain parity, and have more confidence and satisfaction in their work/life balance.

It also contains best practices, progress, and successes from companies who partner with CREW Network as sponsors and signatories of our CRE Pledge for Action, a global CEO-driven industry commitment to support the advancement of women and other individuals in underrepresented groups.

How you can help
You can help advance this research and accelerate women and other underrepresented groups in the following ways:

  • Download or request copies and share this research with your company leaders, including your HR leaders and top executives
  • Share it on social media
  • Host an event or program on this topic in your market. CREW Network has a marketing toolkit, including a turnkey presentation, to assist you in hosting.

CREW Network, the leading producer of research on gender and diversity in commercial real estate, develops research papers annually and publishes a benchmark study every five years to provide valuable industry data and insights focused on gender equity and diversity and inclusion.

This research paper was developed with support from the CREW Network Industry Research Committeeand Industry Research Program Partner Capital One. Help advance our research efforts by donating to the CREW Network Foundation Industry Research Fund.

Special thanks to our Industry Research Program Partner

Capital One Commercial Bank


Laura Lewis
CREW Network Chief Communications Officer
+1 (785) 856-8275

CREW Network, 1201 Wakarusa Dr Ste D, Lawrence, KS 66049 USA
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