My first summer out of college I was interviewing for jobs in commercial real estate. I wanted to be a broker. Not a receptionist, not an assistant, a broker. I sat down in a smaller commercial real estate office. The office itself was well lit. It had a poor magazine collection and chairs that had seen better days.
I sat down with the Managing Broker, lets say his name is Tom.
After telling me he one time had to place 50 chase banks, I questioned his bravado. I don’t like people who show their entire hand on the first play.
Tom proceeded to tell me that I wouldn’t get a job in real estate because I was a liability. He reminded me that I’d be having kids one day and that well…I’d be one of the only females in the office. Let me reiterate. Tom told me I was a liability because I was a female.
I saw Tom put a metaphorical gun up to his head and pulled the trigger. He was dead to me.
That’s when I asked myself, so where exactly are all the women in commercial real estate? Well, a majority of them are still in lower level positions, ultimately making lower wages.
To this day, less than 5% of commercial real estate agents are female and over 40% of commercial real estate agents are named either Tom, Brian, or Ryan. Sadly, I’m only joking about the second statistic.
I’ve scrolled through lists and lists of brokers, Tom after Brian after Ryan. To my dismay, the females overwhelmingly held the clerical and accounting positions.
I will be honest, I have spent hours contemplating why is there such a deficit of females in commercial real estate, until it dawned on me.
Commercial Real estate is a boy’s club, an old boy’s club. And those old boys are still at it today. With a high barrier to entry, becoming a commercial real estate broker is no easy feat. With that, the men who were brokers in the 70’s are still brokers today. The work force in the 70s had men on the front lines and women at home. The surplus of older, established men in the industry has made it harder for women to thrive in commercial real estate. That said, the tides, they are a changin’. Slowly, but surely a new mentality has arisen in commercial real estate, and it’s forward thinking. One by one, the progression has begun.