The Major Challenges Faced by Women in the Commercial Real-Estate Industry

According to a recent study, 87 percent of women in commercial real-estate say equal pay is their largest obstacle.

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy
The Major Challenges Faced by Women in the Commercial Real-Estate Industry
Image credit: Igor Emmerich | Getty Images
3 min read

A whopping 87.2 percent of women say that the biggest challenge in the commercial real-estate industry is equal pay, according to a recent study by commercial real-estate recruitment and staffing firm RETS Associates.

Related: This Single Mom Turned Tech Entrepreneur Shares How She Rose Above Self-Doubt

The study is based on a survey of 618 women in entry- to senior-level positions about their feelings towards gender equality in the industry in 2018. Sixty-five percent of survey participants said they were made aware of being paid less than a male counterpart at some point in their career, and furthermore, 75 percent of these women said it happened two or more times. Following equal pay, a lack of promotion opportunities (79.2 percent) and feelings that their opinions are not as valued as their male counterparts (79.1 percent) were the other top concerns of women in this industry. But there is a sense of optimism throughout the commercial real estate field.

Related: Jessica Alba on Being Brave, Dealing With Self-Doubt and Overcoming Major Breakdowns

“The days of commercial real estate being an ‘old boys club’ are over,” said Jana Turn, principal at RETS Associates, in a press release. “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.”

When it comes to getting a new job or being promoted, 61 percent of participants said they felt they were passed over for a new job, assignment or listing because of their gender -- and 82 percent said it happened more than once. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to speak up when facing tough challenges such as these, and a majority of women don’t. According to the study, nearly two-thirds did not take action after being bypassed for a job due to fears of losing future opportunities, poor treatment from leadership and damage to their reputations. Of the remaining women who did try to take action, only 28 percent actually brought up the issue with HR while others just looked for other jobs or even resigned.

Whether unconscious or conscious, gender biases must be brought to the forefront and that’s especially true for a major industry such as commercial real estate. In 2017 alone, commercial real estate accounted for 7.6 million jobs in the U.S., contributing $935 billion to the economy, according to RETS.

Related: 98 Percent of VC Funding Goes to Men. Can Women Entrepreneurs Change a Sexist System?

“What leaders in commercial real estate and all industries need to understand is that gender equality means economic growth,” Turner says. “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. When women do well, we all do well.”

More From Women Entrepreneur

Company Culture

10 Successful Women Leaders Share What They Do to Create A Fantastic Work Culture

"Know yourself and your values, stick with them even if they are difficult," describes one leader. "Trustworthiness is the strongest foundation to build a strong work environment."
Growth Strategies

The Top 10 Mistakes That Keep Women Entrepreneurs From Scaling to $1 Million

Though women own 40 percent of U.S. businesses, making 'real money' is oftentimes more the exception than the rule. Here are some things getting in our way.
Women Entrepreneurs

Top 3 Obstacles Entrepreneurial Women Must Overcome

Hurdles still remain before females gain true parity in business.
Fashion

3 Alternatives to Traditional Work Trousers for the Female Entrepreneur

Comfortable, chic options that translate from the office to after-work cocktails with ease.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. values your privacy. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site (both directly and through our partners). By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the use of that data. For more information on our data policies, please visit our Privacy Policy.