In this time of greater focus on inclu- sion and diversity, organizations that are specifically designed to help
women achieve success in oft-male-domi-nated industries seem to be particularly
relevant. For anyone in commercial real
estate, that’s CREW Network. The entity
has been around decades before the
hashtags and campaigns, but it doesn’t
mean it hasn’t paid attention to the
#Me Too movement of late.
As it prepares for its 30th anniversary
next year, Commercial Real Estate Women’s
Network continues to move ahead in helping women navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of the commercial real estate
world. The Lawrence KS-based non-profit
unites over 10,860 members in more than
70 affiliates and chapters across the US, in
Canada and in England.
Why get on board? The professional
association has four major pillars of action:
networking to generate commercial real
estate deals and business; providing leadership development; creating career avenues
and contacts; and conducting industry
research. Real Estate Forum spoke with
CREW for an inside look at how the organization is changing the industry and where
it’s charting its course for tomorrow.
The recruiting firm, RETS Associates, in
a 2018 survey found 87.2% of respondents
agreed that the biggest challenge facing
women in CRE today is equal pay. Of those
who reported gender equity issues in their
companies, only 7% had them resolved to
their satisfaction. CREW is committed to
closing the gender gap in pay parity.
Although CREW research has shown
advances for women in commercial real
estate, its upcoming white paper indicates
more hard work lies ahead. The organization’s report, “Achieving Pay Parity in
Commercial Real Estate,” will be released
in late September. It addresses the 23%
compensation gap between women and
men in commercial real estate. According
to data, the industry median annual compensation for women is $115,000, compared to $150,000 for men.
Looking at specific jobs, the gender pay
gap is the highest with brokers, at 33.8%. It
is followed by developers, at 25.9%, then
asset managers at 18.4%, and finance professionals at 16.7%.
CREW produces its benchmark studies
with new data every five years. The CREW
statistics come from its 2015 study, with the
next one to be published in 2020. The
white paper also profiles companies who
hired consultants and delved into gender
inequality in compensation: Wells Fargo,
Starbucks and Adobe. In the publication,
CREW will set forth the steps these corpora-
tions took to increase pay parity.
CREW’s CEO, Wendy Mann, points outs
that greater inclusion, diversity and gender
equality benefits not only women but also a
company’s bottom line.
Real estate historically has been rooted
in land ownership. Thus, Mann notes it
has been a male-dominated industry. But
thriving in today’s business environment
requires inclusion. “If the culture is not
inclusive, you’re not going to keep tal-
ented, smart women because they’re not
going to want to be in an all-boys club.”
Companies who fail to fully leverage
women’s talent lose out on business. The
Harvard Business Review article “Why
Diverse Teams Are Smarter” cites a 2015
McKinsey report analyzing 366 public
companies. Those in the top quartile for
ethnic and racial diversity in management
were 35% more likely to have financial
returns higher than the industry mean.
Companies in the top quartile for gender
diversity were 15% more likely to show
these higher financials returns.
With CREW heading toward a membership base of 11,000, and first and foremost
being a business network, the organization
connects and cultivates countless deals.
CREWBiz is also a hub of activity. The
online resource and referral network provides an open forum for members to
exchange ideas and to refer business to
one another on a daily basis.
Mann emphasizes to achieve pay parity
there needs to be a cultural change,
and that starts from the top down. “My