commercial real estate women
CRE Women in a Male-Dominated Industry

CRE Women in a Male-Dominated Industry

Let’s hear it for the girls! In honor of Women’s History Month, our team did some digging into stats and sentiments to get a good temperature on the progress of women in commercial real estate. We spoke with Marianne Christian of Sands Investment Group who says,  “To succeed as a woman in commercial real estate you have to be exceptional. When you are a woman in a male-dominated field, you stand out – use that to your advantage“.  

Barriers that Still Exist

Despite the progress made, significant barriers still prevent women from achieving full representation in the commercial real estate industry. These barriers include:

  • Gender Bias: It’s true, many women still face gender bias, which can make it difficult for them to advance in the industry. This bias can manifest in many ways, including unequal pay, lack of opportunities for advancement, and being overlooked for promotions.
  • Lack of Diversity: The CRE industry still lacks diversity, with many top positions held by white men. This lack of diversity can create an environment that is unwelcoming to women and other underrepresented groups.
  • Work-Life Balance: The CRE industry is known for its long hours and high-stress environment, which can make it difficult for women with family responsibilities to succeed in the industry.

Progress for Women in Commercial Real Estate

The past decade has seen the most change in the representation of women in commercial real estate. According to a study by CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network, women now make up 43% of the industry’s workforce, a significant increase from the 36% recorded in 2010.

According to a recent article published in CIRE Magazine, women CCIMs have grown from just 100 in 1984 to over 550. Furthermore, women have made significant gains in leadership roles, with women now representing 33% of senior executive positions in the industry.

What Women Contribute to Commercial Real Estate

We believe we are only seeing the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the contributions women will make in the industry. Despite the barriers we face, we can already note many significant contributions: 

  • Creativity and Innovation: Women bring a unique perspective to the industry, which can lead to new and innovative approaches to problem-solving. Women bring value to projects with special attention to documentation and personal presentation. We’re not saying the industry is boring, but women will certainly bring a new and fresh perspective.
  • Relationship Building: Women are known for their ability to build strong relationships. Being good listeners that are observant and able to pivot conversations when necessary are examples of high emotional intelligence, and qualities that do and will continue to have a big impact on the CRE environment.
  • Community Involvement: Many women in the industry are actively involved in their communities. According to a study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, women are more likely to volunteer their time and contribute more volunteer hours per year than men. Women’s involvement in volunteering activities is crucial for community development as it helps to build trust and establish long-term relationships and networks while providing essential services to the community.

Factors Making an Impact on Women in Commercial Real Estate

There are many factors that contribute to the growth of women in commercial real estate. We believe these factors are making the biggest impact:

  • Mentorship Programs: Mentorship organizations like the CREW Network exist for women in the commercial real estate industry to provide guidance, support, and valuable insights into the industry. Networking helps women to establish relationships and build connections that can lead to career opportunities, partnerships, and referrals. 
  • Industry-Wide Recognition: The CRE industry has also started to recognize the value of diversity and inclusivity in driving innovation and growth. GlobeSt’s annual “Women of Influence ” conference celebrates women who drive the CRE industry forward. They discuss critical issues in CRE, what it means to be a woman in business today, and what the industry can do to position itself for a more inclusive future.
  • Entrepreneurial Opportunities: Women are increasingly starting their own CRE firms, which provides them with more control over their careers and allows them to create more inclusive and diverse work environments (lowering the ladder down for more women to climb).
  • Changing Industry Landscape: The industry is undergoing significant changes, including technological advancements, changes in consumer behavior, and a greater focus on sustainability. These changes are creating new opportunities for women to bring their unique perspectives and expertise to the industry.

We Invite You to Join Us

Sands Investment Group’s core values, Honesty, Integrity, Gratitude, Giving & Growth are lateral to qualities that contribute to women succeeding in CRE. We are dedicated to supporting women in the commercial real estate industry and to equity in the workplace. We strive to create a work environment that is inclusive, diverse, and welcoming to all. We are committed to promoting fairness and equality in all aspects of our business, from hiring and promotion to compensation and benefits. By prioritizing equity in the workplace, we believe we can attract and retain the best talent, build stronger teams, and achieve greater success. 

Join us in our mission to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected. Tyler Herzog, our top female recruiting associate would love an opportunity to answer any questions you may have about SIG or a career in CRE.

Sands Investment Group specializes in the buying and selling of investment properties for private institutions and investors nationwide. What separates SIG from our competition is sub-sector product type specialization, a shared company database, a unified team approach, our core values, and a focus on giving back. Our company of distinguished experts brings a proven track record to the table with over 3,900+ transactions in 48 states and $7.6 Billion in commercial real estate transactions—and counting.


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