The truth about the gender divide in real estate

When it comes to male-dominated industries, one that regularly tops the list is commercial real estate.
The numbers bear that designation out. White men represent more than 58 percent of all professional positions in commercial real estate and more than 77 percent of senior executive positions, according to the 2013 Commercial Real Estate Diversity Report. Women comprise just 35 percent.
On the other hand, residential real estate appears to attract far more women. About 62 percent of all certified Realtors are women, according to the National Association of Realtors.
We took a closer look at the dynamics of the real estate industry and its pronounced gender divide to understand why one segment draws women in droves and the other struggles to diversify.
One potential reason: the difference between fighting for a seat at the table and being at a distinct advantage with clients.
“[In residential real estate], most of the time women make the decisions about wanting to move, what house they want to buy… Men go along for the ride,” said Ellen Klein, an agent with Century 21 Christel Realty in northern New Jersey. “Women can relate to women. The advice that women Realtors give is trusted advice.”
On the commercial side, Tracy Dodson, vice president of brokerage and development at Lincoln Harris in Charlotte, N.C., said being a woman helped her stand out against the suits in the room when she entered the industry.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean it was easy to get there.
“In this industry, it’s hard in a lot of ways. You have to have a lot of success to work your way up,” Dodson said. “It’s not just the hours. You’ve got to have successful projects and you’ve got to have successful deals.”

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