March 8, 2023

Beyond International Women’s Day

How Do We Create Lasting Change in Commercial Real Estate?

Gender diversity and inclusion have become important issues in Canadian Commercial Real Estate (CRE) in recent years. While the industry has made some progress in this area, there is still a long way to go to achieve gender equality and diversity in the workplace.

The Scorecard For Canadian Commercial Real Estate

According to a 2020 CREW Network Benchmark Study: Gender and Diversity in Commercial Real Estate, women remain underrepresented in Canadian CRE, comprising only 36.7% of the workforce. The disparity is particularly true in leadership positions, where women represent only 9% of senior positions. In 2020, the fixed salary gap between genders is 10.2% and the commission and bonus gap is a staggering 55.9%.

Women in Canadian Commercial Real Estate

36.7 %
of workforce are women
9 %
of women are in leadership positions
10.2 %
is the salary gap between men and women

Industry Organizations That Helping With Change

Several organizations are leading the way in promoting gender diversity and inclusion in CRE. In Canada, Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) is a global organization with a Canadian chapter supporting women’s advancement in commercial real estate.

CREW has programs and initiatives to help women in the industry, including mentorship programs, leadership development programs, and industry events. They assemble benchmark studies every five years, like the one cited above, to help us see how far we’ve come as an industry and where we need to go.

What Organizations Can Do and What We’ve Been Doing

The lack of gender diversity and inclusion in the industry is not just a moral issue but also a business one. 

We know that by having higher levels of gender diversity and women in leadership roles we’re likely to experience higher employee satisfaction, lower turnover rates, and better financial performance as an organization.

At Canada ICI, we are challenging ourselves to implement three strategies:

Programs and Events

Mentoring programs, leadership development programs, and educational events that support the advancement of women in the industry. 

In the last year, Canada ICI has been working on a leadership development framework called the Emerging Leaders program, which focuses on women interested in the industry. We’re still preparing to launch the program but have made good progress.

Transparent Hiring and Promotion

Work toward equitable and transparent hiring and promotion processes based on merit rather than gender. Functions like this can help reduce bias and ensure that women have equal opportunities to advance in their careers.

A Culture of Dialogue

Create a culture that values diversity and inclusion and encourages open dialogue about these issues to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and supported and contributions are recognized and rewarded. 

In the last year, Canada ICI implemented a working group to unpack these challenges in our workplace. This group periodically reviews our materials and content and directs new initiatives.

At Canada ICI, we know we have a long way to go as an organization promoting gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace. As an industry, Canadian CRE still has a long way to go. Change is possible if we’re committed to building a more equitable sector for all. Today reminds us that this should be our top priority, and we must progress.

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