Why should women choose a career in commercial real estate or a related field? This is a traditionally male-dominated industry where the existence of women can too easily be seen as unique.
However, commission careers for professional women are growing quickly where few or none were expected before. And there are indications the commercial real estate industry has accepted the idea of women as respected colleagues and market competitors.
Not to dismiss any of the qualifications of male real estate professionals, but a woman-brokered deal or project can be different because they arise from a different skill set. A bias about women in business is common where professional women demonstrate themselves to be excellent multi-taskers, sometimes with an edge over their male counterparts.
Regardless of how any real estate broker came to the industry, most feel it’s a great career choice. Most women brokers feel they’ve succeeded in part because of the support of their male colleagues, not in spite of them.
The challenging, diversified work; flexibility; independence and ability to define their own success are all benefits women in the commercial real estate industry cite. Being a woman can even be an advantage: You stand out in a crowd of brokers and, hopefully, to your clients.
The general consensus is that women often bring complementary skills to the table, with a different communication style or perhaps more compassion. In the business world, even in commercial real estate, the work has become more team-oriented and service-driven. Women are often part of a client’s decision-making team, and they might look for more female representation in their service partners.
There are other barriers to entering the commercial real estate industry, not the least of which is the nature of the compensation. Working for commissions is not for everyone — which is true for men as well. However, women succeed in residential real estate in large numbers. Women are active in other sales -and commission-based industries, too. So that can’t be the sole reason.
Perhaps some women are put off what’s perceived as a “good ol’ boy” reputation. The industry continues to become more professional, however, and successful brokers are hardworking and respectful.
In the end, it’s in the best interest of the commercial real estate industry to reach out to young business women, letting them know what great opportunities are available. And we should be supportive of new brokers, knowing the first years can be really tough.