CRE has a big problem with sexual discrimination: survey

More than 90% of female respondents said they face discrimination in the workplace

(Credit: Pixabay, Public Domain Pictures)
(Credit: Pixabay, Public Domain Pictures)

Sexual discrimination is an industrywide problem in commercial real estate, according to a new survey by the National Real Estate Investor.

Almost three-quarters of the 252 respondents said that discrimination occurs in the industry. The hurdles include receiving a lower salary than someone of another gender or sexual orientation while doing the same job, and being passed over for assignments and promotions, according to NREI.

But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. There is a significant disparity between how many men and how many women said sexual discrimination is happening in the industry.

Over 92 percent of women agreed that discrimination occurred, while just 57 percent of men said they faced similar issues.

More than two thirds of women said they were personally discriminated against in the workplace, compared to less than 5 percent of men. The most widespread complaint from women was over pay disparities compared with men doing the same job.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

The Real Deal broke down female representation in the biggest residential and commercial brokerages in the market and found there were considerably fewer women in commercial real estate, particularly at the leadership level.

Around 87 percent of women who responded to the survey said discrimination was “rampant” or a “common occurrence but not widespread,” compared to 62 percent of men.

The survey is a followup to a February survey by NREI on sexual harassment, which found a stronger consensus between men and women about the state of the workplace. Overall, 87 percent of all respondents — 90 percent of women and 84.4 percent of men — said that sexual harassment occurred in the industry.

Sexual harassment and discrimination in the male-dominated and testosterone-driven real estate industry isn’t exactly a secret to many in industry.

It’s been commonplace at company parties and the like, but many serial offenders have faced a reckoning since the #MeToo movement took off last year, including starchitect Richard Meier.  [NREI] — Dennis Lynch