In most professions, men still earn significantly more than women. But not so in the local commercial real estate scene.
In South Florida, white women are paid on average a salary of $148,582 per year, while women of color earn an average of $91,230 annually, according to a 2020 study by the Kansas-headquartered Commercial Real Estate Women Network. Men earn an average $53,562 per year, about 59% less than white women and 42% less than women of color.
The organization surveyed 51 brokers, developers, financiers, and lawyers involved in commercial real estate in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Marco Island, and Pompano Beach during the first quarter of 2020. The study, published in September, is part of a global survey of 2,930 people, and compares annual salaries versus commission-based positions. In South Florida, 79% of women and 50% of men earn a salary.
Globally, women in commercial real estate earn $90,754 per year versus $101,025 per year for men, a gender pay gap of 10.2%.
Why might South Florida be different? Diversity, said Laura Lewis, the chief marketing officer for the CREW Network.
Fifty-six percent of those surveyed in South Florida were people of color — Asian, Black, Latinx, Middle Eastern, Native American, Native Hawaiian or mixed race — compared to 13% represented in the global data.
“Before Covid, there seemed to be plenty of commercial real estate jobs,” Lewis said. “When more diverse people work in that industry and in leadership positions, we see more diverse people entering these fields. Essentially, if you see it, then you can be it.”
It doesn’t hurt that the powerhouse firm of Blanca Commercial Real Estate is owned by a woman — Tere Blanca — and that women hold key positions in her company (Danet Linares is vice president), and others in the region, including Barbara Libatore Black, managing director at JLL and Donna Abood at Avison and Young, to name but a few.
Still, when it comes to commission and bonus-only positions, South Florida women suffer. White women earn on average $82,513 per year and women of color earn $40,717 per year. Men earn on average $353,062 per year — a difference of 77% for white women and 88% for women of color.
Overall, all women globally earn an average income of $15,075 per year compared to $43,349 per year for men in commission-only positions, a gap of 65.2%.