Network of Commercial Real Estate Women Releases Survey Results

Feb. 21, 2006
More women are entering commercial real estate, but men are still earning more

In the commercial real estate industry’s first comprehensive look at women in the industry, a survey conducted by Lawrence, KS-based Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW Network) finds that, while the number of women professionals in the industry is increasing, men earn more than women across the board at comparable levels of experience and age, and across industry specializations.

“The survey results provide a benchmark against which the industry can measure the future progress of women professionals, both in terms of their representation in the field and the advancement of their careers. We consider this a very important initiative,” says Brett White, CEO of CB Richard Ellis, the premier underwriter of the survey. “We have long placed a priority on fostering the professional development of women, and are pleased to underwrite the first comprehensive study of the status of women professionals in the commercial real estate field.”

The survey found the number of women in commercial real estate has been growing. Over the last 5 years, the percentage of women professionals in the industry increased from 32 percent to 36 percent.

In addition, the Women in Commercial Real Estate Survey: 2005 found - at comparable levels of experience - significantly more men achieve senior-level positions than women. Comparing women and men with more than 20 years of experience in the industry, 44 percent of men held the title president, chief executive officer, or chief financial officer, while only 23 percent of women held those titles. Women were much more likely than men to have positions of vice president or below.

“We are pleased to see more women working in commercial real estate, an industry in which the professionals have predominantly been men,” says Ginger Bryant, CREW Network 2005 president. “However, there is clearly more work to do to achieve parity between men and women in terms of compensation and career advancement, and to increase the number of women in certain segments of the industry.”

Overall, commercial real estate is a high-paying field, according to the survey. More than one-third of the respondents - men and women combined - earned more than $150,000 in 2004, and 18 percent earned more than $250,000. However, while 58 percent of the men reported incomes of $150,000 or higher, only 24 percent of the women reported incomes of $150,000 or higher.

These findings stand in contrast to perceptions of parity in the industry. When asked if there is gender-based disparity in incomes, less than half the respondents - both men and women - correctly recognized that an income gap exists.

Among other survey findings:

*  The specialization of Financial/Professional Services saw the most growth in terms of the percent of women - from 37 percent 5 years ago to 44 percent today. The specialization of Development/Development Services saw no growth in the percentage of women.

*  Brokerage/Sales/Leasing saw growth in terms of the percentage of women, from 20 percent to 23 percent in the same time period. However, the survey results demonstrate that men are more likely to hold, and to pursue, positions that include commissions as part or all of their overall compensation structure.

*  A majority of both women and men in commercial real estate reported that they have achieved high levels of success in their careers.

*  Both men and women in commercial real estate report that they are less satisfied with their work/life balance than with the level of success that they have achieved.

*  Women who consider themselves very satisfied with their work/life balance report that their satisfaction levels increased as their experience levels increased. This trend was not true for men, who reported a drop in their level of satisfaction with work/life balance mid-career.

*  Women are more likely to directly manage women, and men are more likely to directly manage men - regardless of industry specialization.  

CREW engaged Knowledge Systems & Research Inc. to execute both an online and a telephone interview survey. There were 1,834 online survey participants from all disciplines in commercial real estate - 64 percent women and 36 percent men. Respondents were drawn from the industry at large, and were not limited to CREW Network members. The 250 telephone interviews were drawn from the online respondents and provided more detailed qualitative research on select topics.

Other survey underwriters include Holland+Knight, Prudential Financial, Appraisal Institute, CCIM Institute, First American Title Insurance Co. National Commercial Services, GMAC Commercial Mortgage, and the National Multi Housing Council.

This information was reprinted with permission from the
Lawrence, KS-based Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW Network). The mission of CREW Network ( is to advance the success of women in commercial real estate. CREW Network members represent all disciplines of commercial real estate - every type of expert required to “do the deal.”  Members comprise more than 6,500 commercial real estate professionals in 57 markets across North America. To find out more, visit (

For copies of the complete report, contact Denise Kahler at (785) 832-1808. The survey price is $35 for members of CREW Network and $60 for non-members.

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