June 29, 2018
Pay inequity and opportunity discrimination continue to stalk women in the commercial real estate industry, according to a new survey from RETS Associates, a Newport Beach, CA-based recruitment and staffing firm. The 2018 Women in CRE Survey questioned 615 women holding entry- to senior-level positions across the nation.
Surprisingly, sexual harassment wasn’t identified by respondents as one of the biggest challenges they face, despite the fact that more than half (52%) reported having been sexually harassed at some point in their career.
“Women are more empowered than ever before to stand-up to discrimination, but change must come from the top and currently there aren’t enough women in leadership positions,” said Jana Turner of RETS Associates.
Of those who endured sexual harassment, a whopping 82% said it happened more than once; yet the overwhelming majority (76%) didn’t report the incidents to HR or management. Perhaps they thought it would put their job at risk or nothing would be done about it. Indeed, the survey stats paint an ugly picture of the industry—10% of respondents who reported sexual harassment lost their jobs, and 34% said no action was taken against the accused harasser.
“The way in which we treat women in the workplace is a key component to boosting not only our own industry’s success, but our entire economy,” Turner pointed out. “When women do well, we all do well.”
Based on the survey results, it’s clear sexual harassment is a problem for the CRE industry. Still, respondents feel pay inequity and opportunity discrimination are even worse. Eight of 10 respondents agree or strongly agree that the biggest challenge facing women in CRE today is equal pay, followed closely by a lack of promotion opportunities and the feeling that women aren’t as valued or respected as their male counterparts.
Notably, 65% of respondents indicated that they were made aware of being paid less than a male counterpart at some point in their career. And 61% of those surveyed reported they felt they were bypassed for a job, assignment, or listing at some point in their career based on gender. Of those women who faced gender discrimination, almost two-thirds (63%) did not take any kind of action. For those who did something, the most common response was finding another job.
“Many industries, including CRE, still operate with unconscious gender bias, which arises from cultural assumptions and organizational structures, practices and patterns of interaction that inadvertently advantage men, while putting women at a disadvantage,” says Dr. Bernice Ledbetter, director of the Center for Women in Leadership at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. “If women in CRE hope to advance, these biases must be addressed head on.”
For questions, comments or concerns, please contact Jennifer Duell Popovec