Press Release: Global Real Estate DEI Survey, Volume III - Results Released


Contact: Kristy Domboski
(; 609-945-2427)

Global Real Estate DEI Survey — Results Released

96% of CRE Firms Have DEI Strategies

January 17, 2024, PRINCETON, NJ — Nearly all commercial real estate firms have diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in place in their organizations, with the number of firms adopting formal strategies increasing 5% year-over-year, according to the third edition of the Global Real Estate DEI Survey, volume III released today. With almost 96% of firms having DEI policies and practices in place, 56.4% enact formal strategies; just over 4% of firms do not have DEI programs or initiatives.

“These statistics reinforce CFMA’s dedication to fostering an inclusive environment," says Neil Shah, CFMA's President & CEO. "Combatting DEI fatigue and prioritizing ongoing efforts amplifies our social responsibility and propels performance and productivity. As leaders, we must leverage this data, implement robust strategies, and champion DEI to shape a more prosperous and equitable future for the construction industry.” 

Conducted between July and September 2023, the Global Real Estate DEI Survey, volume III is the result of the collaboration among six sponsoring associations: NAREIM, NCREIF, PREA, REALPAC, ULI, and Ferguson Partners, as well as 14 supporting associations: AFIRE, AIA, APREA, AREF, BOMA, BPF, CFMA, CoreNet Global, CREFC, EPRA, NAIOP, OSCRE, PFA, and RICS. The survey tracked DEI practices and employee demographics at 216 firms, representing 296,902 full-time real estate employees, $1.98 trillion of assets under management, and a cross-section of the commercial real estate industry globally in terms of size, region, and business type. 

The Global Real Estate DEI Survey shows commercial real estate firms are increasingly focused on attracting more underrepresented people to the industry as a whole, with 31.6% of firms saying the most impactful DEI policy in 2023 was creating scholarships and internships to increase diversity in candidate pools, up from just 18% of firms the year prior. 

Key findings from the Global Real Estate DEI Survey include:

  • Budgets: Dedicated DEI budgets are increasingly important for improving representation by underrepresented groups. In 2023, 36.3% of firms had dedicated DEI budgets, up from 30.4% in 2022 — a year-over-year increase of 19%.
  • Dimensions of diversity: Nine out of 10 respondents address race/ethnicity/nationality within their DEI programs followed by gender, sexual orientation, and age. More firms are also tracking family status in 2023 than in the prior year, while firms tracking mental health conditions has also increased.
  • Impact: Providing DEI-related training is the second most impactful DEI policy after creating scholarships and internships. One quarter of firms have seen training have the greatest impact on achieving DEI goals, up from 14.6% year-over-year.
  • Inclusion: Promoting inclusive social events is the most common strategy for promoting an inclusive work culture, with almost nine out of 10 firms adopting the policy in 2023 or planning to implement it in the next 12 months.

For U.S, firms, which represent 69.5% of Survey respondents, key highlights include:

  • 41.4% of FTEs in commercial real estate in the U.S. are women, while almost 30% of employees are from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.
  • The underrepresented race/ethnicity group with the highest percentage of FTEs is Asian (9.8%), followed by Hispanic/Latino (9.4%) and Black or African American (7.2%). Women in the U.S. made gains at the most senior levels of commercial real estate in 2023, with women representing almost 26% of executive management positions up from 23% in 2022.
  • At the board of directors level, the representation of people of color increased more than 50% rising to almost 15% of all board roles — up from just 9% in 2022.
  • The top 10 roles held by men, women, white professionals and people of color are also listed.

The Global Real Estate DEI Survey also reports employee demographics for Canada for the first time. For firms with employees in Canada, which represent 18.6% of respondents, key highlights include:

  • 45.6% of all employees are women – the highest for any region surveyed. Data on ethnicity is not collected for Canada, Asia-Pacific or Europe.
  • 27.4% of board of director positions in Canada are held by women, the highest for any region.
  • Women at Canadian CRE firms comprised nearly half of all mid-level promotions (48.4%) and hires (47.6%) in 2023, exceeding the representation of women at that level of seniority.
  • Note that to increase the representation of women or people of color at any level of seniority, hirings and promotions should materially exceed the baseline employee population for that group. See the attached PDF for more details.

In terms of employee demographics, data shows the representation of women in commercial real estate ranged from 39.8% to 45.6% across the four regions surveyed, which comprise Asia-Pacific, Europe, Canada, and the U.S.

For more insights, click here for more on the key findings and executive summary of the Global Real Estate DEI Survey, volume III.

About the Survey:

The Global Real Estate DEI Survey is a biannual report tracking corporate DEI practices and employee demographics for commercial real estate globally, across regions, company sizes, and business types. The Survey tracks gender, gender identity, race/ethnicity and age across seniority and job functions in the U.S. as well as gender, gender identity, and age across seniority in Asia-Pacific, Canada, and Europe. It also provides insights into corporate practices in relation to DEI programs, recruitment, retention, training and development, inclusivity, and pay equity.

The Global Real Estate DEI Survey is conducted in partnership with 19 commercial real estate industry associations and Ferguson Partners. The associations include AFIRE, AIA, APREA, AREF, BOMA, BPF, CFMA, CoreNet Global, CREFC, EPRA, NAIOP, NAREIM, NCREIF, OSCRE, PFA, PREA, RICS, REALPAC, and ULI. Hear what the other organizations have to say about the Global Real Estate DEI Survey: 

AIA, the American Institute of Architects

“As designers of built environments, architects care deeply about advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is committed to working with our commercial real estate and industry association partners to foster a more inclusive and thriving global real estate and building industry. We are encouraged by the increase in firms with formal strategies this year, which is essential to creating benchmarks for improvement, and commend the investment in the next generation to help diversify our professions in the future. AIA is eager to continue our collaborative work to glean insights and advance our industries forward.” Lakisha Ann Woods, CEO & EVP, AIA

AREF, the Association of Real Estate Funds

“A look around the real estate investment industry will tell you it’s palpably more diverse than even a few years ago. This authoritative survey underlines such anecdotal evidence with hard data. In Europe, for example, some 56% have a dedicated budget for diversity issuers and nearly 78% are now reconsidering the way they hire new staff. There is clear momentum towards better diversity – as the industry continues to evolve positively.” Paul Richards, Managing Director, AREF

APREA, Asia Pacific Real Estate Association

“The results of the Global Real Estate DEI Survey not only affirm the increasing importance of DEI but also signal a collective industry-wide dedication to cultivating inclusive environments that celebrate diversity and ensure equity. This resonates strongly with APREA's commitment to championing DEI in the Asia Pacific real assets sector. By addressing disparities and prioritizing equity, we aim to contribute to a vibrant industry that thrives on diverse perspectives and guides us towards a future where DEI is integral to the industry's DNA.” Sigrid Zialcita, CEO, APREA

BOMA International, the Building Owners and Managers Association

“It is an absolute honor for BOMA International to partner with other commercial real estate organizations in this year’s Global Real Estate DEI Survey. Promoting better practices in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) is a major priority for BOMA International, as well as one of my personal missions, and passions. In addition to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are striving to accomplish a stronger sense of belonging in the commercial real estate community. By participating actively in this most important survey, BOMA’s hope is to better educate our industry as a whole, in the future best practices around diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as belonging.” Bob Six, Chair, BOMA

BPF, British Property Federation

“The BPF is delighted to join the collaborative effort to deliver the Global Real Estate DEI Survey. In order to become a more diverse and inclusive sector, transparency is important so we can hold ourselves to account and measure our progress. The survey results this year show, importantly, that the commitment of firms actively pursuing a commitment to greater diversity and inclusion remains steadfast and that the most senior leaders recognise their critical role.” Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, BPF

CoreNet Global

“The results of this year’s Global Real Estate DEI Survey reflect our association’s own efforts and desire to elevate the strategic importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the CRE space. CoreNet Global celebrates diversity and seeks to strengthen equity, inclusion, and accessibility throughout corporate real estate. We are proud to find ourselves among those with a formal DEI program in place including resources to help our members’ companies develop and support their own initiatives. We look forward to seeing the positive impact of continued awareness of DEI in business.” Angela Cain, CEO, CoreNet Global

CREFC, the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council

“CREFC is pleased to be a part of Global Real Estate’s DEI Survey. Our DEI initiative was first launched back in 2020 and continues to thrive. It has evolved over the years with a growing number of CREFC member participants all with a keen focus on being instruments of change within our industry and throughout the U.S. Survey’s like this one are vital to move DEI concerns forward and ensure progress goes unimpeded.” Lisa Pendergast, Executive Director, CREFC

EPRA, the European Public Real Estate Association

“EPRA, the European Public Real Estate Association, underscores the essential role of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) surveys in the listed real estate sector. These surveys are vital tools for assessing the progress and identifying the challenges still faced in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. Europe has made great progress in embedding DEI in real estate, but there remains much work to be done. By regularly examining our methods and policies, we ensure that our industry not only mirrors the diverse communities we serve, but also sets a benchmark in creating equitable and inclusive work environments. Together, we are committed to fostering a more diverse and inclusive real estate sector.” Dominique Moerenhout, CEO, EPRA

Ferguson Partners

“Ferguson Partners is dedicated to thought leadership and the power of data to drive positive changes that promote inclusivity. Our participation in the Global DEI Survey reinforces our belief, and commitment, in creating an industrial standard within the commercial real estate sector, that may be duplicated across industries. Ferguson Partners remains grounded by empirical insights that strengthen our inclusive framework to cascade empowerment at all levels within organizations.” Dionna Johnson Sallis, Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Ferguson Partners

NAREIM, the National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers

“This year’s Global Real Estate DEI Survey marks an important point in time both for the CRE industry and the Survey itself. Not only is this Survey supported by more industry associations – but it comes at a time when DEI fatigue is growing. We know only too well that DEI is not an afternoon’s training – or something to ponder only during Black History Month. It is a process that brings inclusion and belonging into the heart of talent management process – and the people that drive the success of any firm. This Survey is the first step in that process and we are thrilled to be a part of it with so many esteemed associations.” Zoe Hughes, CEO, NAREIM

NCREIF, the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries

“DEI continues to be a key focus for all of us and this Survey serves as a great tool to measure our collective success.  With each year it will be exciting to hopefully see advancement within DEI. NCREIF is excited and proud to again participate in the latest Global Real Estate DEI Survey with so many other industry associations focused on a common cause.” Dan Dierking, CEO, NCREIF

OSCRE International, Open Standards Consortium of Real Estate

“The Global Real Estate DEI Survey enables organizations to gain insights on DEI initiatives across the industry and is an initiative OSCRE is proud to be a part of.  With over 200 unique organizations participating, the survey addresses DEI management practices that improve business processes and outcomes. Awareness of what other organizations are doing is a powerful incentive to expand DEI practices, advancing needed change across the industry.” Lisa Stanley, CEO, OSCRE International.

PREA, Pension Real Estate Association

“The first step in managing and improving is measurement. For the industry, this latest edition of the Global Real Estate DEI Survey serves as a valuable benchmark, of both the demographics of the industry and the policies and strategies that firms are using to make the industry more inclusive. By responding, the firms represented in this year’s survey have demonstrated their own commitment to measuring and improving DEI and leading the way to an industry that better reflects the strengths of our diverse world.” Gail Haynes, President, PREA

REALPAC, the Real Property Association of Canada

“DEI practices are essential in the commercial real estate sector to better reflect the diversity of the communities we operate in. Our industry’s commitment is evident in the unprecedented participation in the 2023 Global Real Estate DEI Survey. The Survey results highlight significant progress in DEI, but also uncover areas needing improvement. We hope the Survey findings act as both a benchmarking as well as an educational tool, guiding the industry towards enhanced DEI practices. This effort is fundamental in building a globally inclusive and equitable real estate industry.” Carolyn Lane, VP, Member Engagement & COO, REALPAC

RICS, the Royal institute of Chartered Surveyors

“Supporting this survey and encouraging our Real Estate firms to take part aligns strongly with RICS DEI priorities. We greatly value the importance of data to better understand what’s happening in the industry and where we need to focus our collaborative efforts to address and remove barriers and create a more inclusive and equitable sector.  While the data shows there is much to do to improve resourcing and support for DEI programmes and initiatives, it is promising to see so many organisations coming together globally to highlight these issues and take action to improve the industry together.” Sybil Taunton, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, RICS.

ULI, Urban Land Institute

“The results of this year’s survey and the greater number of participants show that companies remain committed to improving outcomes and experiences for women, people of color, and other underrepresented professionals in the industry and that DEI programs remain a critical and growing priority for leaders across the real estate value chain. ULI looks forward to driving further progress on a diverse, equitable industry through our research, programs, member engagement, and thought leadership globally.” Sonia Huntley, senior vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, ULI.