Commercial real estate, like some other fields in business, has been historically male-dominated, but that statistic is changing and for good reasons.
When you thought of a commercial real estate brokerage 30 years ago, most likely a certain image came to mind. Namely, a group of middle-aged, suburban men. Now, most brokerages are likely to be more diverse, with both young and old, male and female.
This is for good reason and at SVN Rock Advisors, we speak from experience.
Brokerage is an attractive career path. Even though you are not a business owner, you have control of your own destiny, to an extent.
There is potential for extraordinary income.
Many benefits to brokerage
It’s an exciting business with big wins and every transaction has its own unique challenges and issues to resolve. You get to work with a team, but have a certain level of autonomy.
Our team of brokers, since inception, has been a mix of men and women and we have found that this has worked to our advantage. Having a diverse team of brokers allows us to approach transactions from several different angles and to be able to provide a higher level of service to clients.
The past 16 months have taught employers about the need for flexibility and adaptation but these criteria have always been a consideration for parents, and in a particular way, for mothers.
I have three daughters who are all well-educated and ambitious (they’ve earned eight degrees between them), but are also dedicated to their role as mothers.
Each has chosen a career path that allows them the flexibility to manage both their professional and personal goals simultaneously (one is a doctor, one a professor and another is a lawyer who works in the business with me).
This is an issue that is important to me and I am always glad to help women thrive in their careers while not sacrificing any aspect of their personal life. Unlike some career paths, especially in the business world where you are on partner track and cannot easily step away for extended periods of time, brokerage allows you to come and go as your family life requires and we have supported many employees over the years in this way.
As you move through your life and career . . .
It can’t be denied that a commercial real estate brokerage requires availability. Brokers need to be able to respond to client inquiries and issues at the drop of a hat. That is part of the promise of high-quality service to our clients and this time commitment can deter women from pursuing this path.
Many women may choose flexibility in their career over higher income while their children are younger, but as their children age, they are ready to enter into a more full-time role. Sometimes, women are forced to enter at entry-level roles because of their periodic absences from the industry.
Our suggestion would be to consider brokerage early in your career. Then, you may need to step back from it, or transition into a less time-sensitive role while your children are young.
When the time comes to return to the workplace full-time, you have great training and experience to be able to re-enter at a highly elevated full-time position rather than an entry-level role.
There’s more to this idea than just flexibility.
Stronger client relationships
It is well understood that women tend to be better communicators with greater empathy. Generally speaking, they tend to value collaboration more than men and these qualities all lead to stronger client relationships and an easier path to developing trust.
Women also tend to be great negotiators because they are able to identify a win-win for all parties.
It’s clear that the benefits of commercial real estate brokerage for women are there, ready to be taken advantage of and the good news is the number of women in commercial real estate continues to grow.
CREW Network is a community dedicated to the advancement of women in the commercial real estate industry. The global network boasts 12,000 members.
We’ve found that some of our most successful brokers have been women, some of whom started out in more flexible support roles when their children were young and then transitioned to full-time brokerage as their schedules allowed it.
We value family commitments and strive to create with our employees a work arrangement that is beneficial from both a personal and professional standpoint, whether that means adjusted working hours, working from home, or transitioning to less client-facing roles when needed.