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Diversity major priority for commercial real estate firms
Asia-Pacific women equal 47% of employees, have greatest regional representation in senior positions
The Asset 20 Dec 2021

There is a clear mandate and momentum for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) to be a priority, with 92% of firms adopting a DEI programme or initiatives to improve DEI in the workplace, according to a recent global survey of corporate best practices and employee demographics for commercial real estate (CRE) firms.

In Europe, 43% of CRE firms have professionals solely dedicated to DEI, while in the Asia-Pacific region that figure is 33%, finds the first Global Real Estate DEI Survey. In North America, 21% of firms have dedicated DEI professionals, while 67% of firms have formal DEI committees responsible for developing, implementing and reviewing DEI strategies and initiatives. In both Asia-Pacific and Europe, around 44% of CRE firms use DEI committees.

Of the firms with at least one dedicated DEI employee, the DEI employee is usually at the senior level. DEI committees also typically report to the C-suite executive or directly to the CEO or other senior leadership.

In Asia-Pacific, men represent 53% of all full-time employees (FTEs) compared with 47% women. In Europe, men represent 62% of all FTEs compared to 38% for women. In North America, men represent 59% of all FTEs compared to 41% for women.

Asia-Pacific CRE firms have the greatest representation of women in senior positions with women comprising 32% of all executive management positions and 26% of board positions. In North America, women represent 20% of executive management and 21% of board director roles, while in Europe women represent 16% of executive management and 14% of board roles.

In North America (77% of participants), 29% of FTEs are professionals of colour. Insufficient data was collected in 2021 in relation to nationality for Asia-Pacific CRE firms and race/ethnicity for Europe CRE firms.

The survey, sponsored by seven real estate industry associations – ANREV, INREV, NAREIM, NCREIF, PREA, REALPAC and ULI – and conducted by Ferguson Partners, tracks gender, race, ethnicity and nationality across seniority and job functions in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, and corporate practices in relation to DEI programmes, recruitment, retention, training and development, inclusivity and pay equity.

Conducted between September 8 to October 29 2021, the survey collected 175 responses covering 435,000 employees globally and representing US$2.4 trillion of gross assets under management. Almost three-quarters of participants reported data for the North America region (77%), with 16% of organizations reporting for Europe, and 7% of participants reporting on behalf of the Asia-Pacific region.

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