Diverse teams and inclusive workplaces equals greater business results

Diverse teams and inclusive workplaces equals greater business results October 7, 2021

CREW Network recently launched the first CEO-driven business commitment to advance women and DEI in commercial real estate.  When I was first approached by Wendy Mann, CEO of CREW Network, to sign the pledge, it was a no-brainer. The Pledge for Action aligns perfectly with Avison Young’s existing efforts and commitments to the critical diversity and inclusion our industry needs. By signing on, along with many other leading commercial real estate CEOs, we are taking accountability for ourselves and for the employees responsible for implementing programs that advance women and DEI.

At Avison Young we firmly believe that commercial real estate isn’t just about the buildings and the square footage, it’s about spaces and places that improve lives and help businesses thrive. If we truly want to improve lives, help our clients succeed and keep our industry flourishing, we must understand that commercial real estate serves many diverse populations. To deliver, our workforce should reflect that. We need people who represent a diversity of perspectives and thinking for the future so that we can encourage meaningful change in the industry.

Disparities and stagnant progress for women and other individuals in underrepresented groups have plagued the CRE industry for decades. The 2020 CREW Network Benchmark Study: Gender and Diversity in Commercial Real Estate, conducted in partnership with the MIT Center for Real Estate revealed that:

  • Women earn 10% less than men in base salaries and 56% less in commission and bonuses annually
  • Women occupy 37% of the industry
  • Women hold just 9% of C-suite positions
  • Only 16% of CRE workplaces have 25% or more staff that are from diverse backgrounds

Signing this pledge underscores our commitment to take action within our own walls by tearing down persistent workplace barriers. We are doing that not by setting quotas, but instead, focusing on education, development, culture and standards for long-term mindset and behavior change. “CEO’s need to take the steps necessary to drive change and demonstrate that leadership and accountability start at the top,” said Wendy Mann in the recent Forbes article, 3 CEOs Pledging To Advance Women And DEI In Commercial Real Estate. I couldn’t agree more.

Mark E. Rose is Chair and CEO of Avison Young.