This is the second in a series of articles examining the racial diversity of the boards and executive leadership of the biggest companies in commercial real estate. To read the introductory editor’s note for this series, click here. To read Part 1, on REITs, click here. Stay tuned for the next installment on the CRE finance industry.
When George Floyd died May 25, it kicked off a violent and discomforting reckoning on race that roiled the nation.
Americans were once again forced to look into an unpleasant mirror — and the multitrillion-dollar commercial real estate industry was no exception.
U.S. brokerage firms — the grease in the wheels of commercial real estate, employing hundreds of thousands of people and generating tens of billions in annual revenue —issued public statements of support for Black Lives Matter, committing to do more and better and increasing donations to diversity groups within the industry.
Many said little and committed to nothing. Despite these firms’ reach, considerable capital and massive employee rosters, the vast majority of their most powerful decision-makers are White men.
Now, the pressure to diversify at every level of these companies has intensified, as commercial real estate grapples with the residue of discriminatory policies that have kept women and people of color from advancing up the ranks — if they could get in the front door in the first place.
“When you think of the brokerage industry, it really taps into our economy and a range of areas that should represent the general population,” said Jane Stevenson, who is the vice chairman of the board and CEO of services at management consulting firm Korn Ferry.
“It’s definitely a problem that it is a White male-oriented [industry], because it doesn't represent the economy in the way that it needs to,” Stevenson said.
Read the full story here.