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The only one in the room: How the Bay Area’s real estate industry is grappling with diversity (Video)

Many in the commercial real estate industry often find themselves “the only one in the room” who is different.

White males still dominate in many professional settings in commercial real estate and especially in the executive ranks. While the tech industry has come under intense scrutiny for a lack of diversity in its workforce and investing millions into addressing the problem, commercial real estate has largely received a pass.

How to Move the Needle on Diversity

Industry groups including CREW, NAIOP, the Urban Land Institute and the Building Owners and Managers Association are looking at how to address the lack of diversity.

The San Francisco chapter of BOMA has been working with San Francisco State University, where the study body is more than 70 percent female and/or people of color, on a certificate program in real estate for finance majors and a fellowship program that places students in internships and provides mentorship.

Many commercial real estate executives say diversifying their staffs is a top priority. here are some best practices employees shared:

“Creating a diversity task force or committee to help steer recruiting and operations policies to be more inclusive and sensitive can be effective. Adding a diversity liaison and incorporating diversity goals into company culture and core values is key. The latter takes time and commitment. Supporting groups that help boost women such as CREW and other groups within the industry is also important.”

James Kilpatrick, President
NAI Northern California, a commerical brokerage firm

 

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