Minorities in the real estate industry

Reports show minorities aren't netting executive jobs in the real estate industry.

The nation has made major strides in diversifying work forces in a variety of industries, but according to The Wall Street Journal, experts say that the real estate sector still lags behind corporate America in diversity.

"Corporations are spending a great deal of money with minority- and women-owned businesses, but there is virtually zero spend in the corporate real estate space," said J.R. Thomas, an African-American and co-founder of the Robert Louis Group, according to SoapBox Cincinnati. The group is one of the few Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certified commercial real estate firms in the nation.

Foster spent a large portion of his career at Jones Lang LaSalle, JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers. His background includes corporate real estate leasing assignments, sales, and financing.

"There are very few minorities who go out and form their own companies after growing their knowledge base," he said.

Eric Yarbro, a worker at CBRE and one of the most senior African-American commercial brokers in New York, agreed with Foster's assessment. He said minorities don't have contacts in the business world.

"As a community [we] don't have a long legacy of friends and family members we learned the business from or who sent us to the colleges they attended," Yarbro told The Wall Street Journal. Yarbro said he was initially pushed into the field through his brother, a real estate investor in Boston.

By the numbers
The Wall Street Journal stated that data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission revealed the real estate sector has a dreary track record for hiring minorities. Of nearly 14,000 senior executive jobs in the industry, only 2.9 percent were Hispanic men, 1.6 percent were Asian men and 1.3 percent were black men.

Data from the commission showed that white men had more than 77 percent of senior executive jobs in real estate despite making up just 36.7 percent of the U.S. population between the ages of 25 and 64.

"Being a minority or being a woman is a significant barrier," stated the report launched by Elaine Andersson, who practiced real-estate law for about 30 years before starting the publication. "Being both…is a double impediment."

The Wall Street Journal stated female minorities in each category held less than 1 percent of executive positions, according to a new publication called the Commercial Real Estate Diversity Report.

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