Ferguson Partners Launches Global DEI Benchmark with 7 Leading Associations

Global DEI benchmark to launch backed by 7 leading associations

ANREV, INREV, NAREIM, NCREIF, PREA, REALPAC and ULI join forces with Ferguson Partners to launch the Global Real Estate DEI Survey.

For a PDF version of this announcement, visit here.

Seven leading industry associations have partnered together to create a global benchmark of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics for the commercial real estate industry.

ANREV, INREV, NAREIM, NCREIF, PREA, REALPAC and ULI have joined forces to support and expand the Global Real Estate DEI Survey, a corporate benchmark of gender, ethnicity and nationality across seniority and job functions across commercial real estate globally. Ferguson Partners will conduct the survey on behalf of the organizations.

The Global Real Estate DEI Survey will launch on September 8, 2021 and remain open for data submissions until October 22. The final results will be released in December.

First created in 2017 as part of an annual compensation study by NAREIM and Ferguson and launched as a dedicated survey in 2020, the Global Real Estate DEI Survey will provide employee demographic and best practice metrics for Asia, Europe and North America.

It will also expand the type of commercial real estate firms being tracked to include all players within the CRE asset class, from institutional investors to real estate investment managers, architects, developers and operating partners, to service providers and consultants.

The Survey’s expansion geographically and in terms of eligible participants is a response to the growing prioritization of DEI within CRE organizations, and the need among organizations to benchmark not only their own internal DEI policies but also that of partners and vendors.

The Global Real Estate DEI Survey will track:

  • DEI program structure, resources and ownership
  • Policies focused on recruitment, retention, training and development, inclusivity, tracking and accountability and pay equity
  • Employee demographics by gender, ethnicity and nationality, across seniority and job function, as well as DEI hiring, promotion and departure trends year-over-year.

The Survey results will be presented at a regional level and by type of firm to ensure the ability of participants to compare themselves on a peer-to-peer basis.

“Having a holistic and thoughtful approach to DEI is an essential component of an effective human capital management strategy,” said Erin Green, Managing Director of Ferguson Partners, which is leading the data collection, validation and analysis on behalf of the Associations.

“As DEI initiatives have become a major point of focus within the CRE industry, there is a strong desire among industry participants to understand best practices and learn from the experiences of their peers. This survey, the most comprehensive of its kind, is designed to provide actionable guidance that real estate companies can leverage to benefit employees, owners, investors, and the industry at large,” added Green.

The Global Real Estate DEI Survey 2021 builds on more than four years of DEI benchmarking within the real estate investment management industry.

In 2020, the DEI Survey – then completed by 74 real estate investment management organizations representing more than $2tn of assets under management and 20,000 full-time employees –showed a majority of real estate investment management firms were prioritizing DEI within their organizations and dedicating more resources to DEI initiatives. It also revealed that women and minority professionals at the most senior levels – executive management – had increased their representation but still comprised just 15% of positions respectively.

Collaboration in action

ANREV: “This study, with our fellow Associations in the commercial real estate industry, coincides with a number of Asian governments’ and industries’ efforts to involve more women in their respective economies. It also comes as intra-regional labor migration is picking up. As a research and best practice sharing organization in Asia, the results of this survey should mark a useful understanding of how DEI is progressing across the region,” said Jeremy Stewardson, Chief Executive of ANREV (the Asian Association for Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles: www.anrev.org/en/

INREV: “The expansion of the Global Real Estate DEI Survey marks a truly positive step for the industry. As the first of its kind, this benchmark will undoubtedly spur positive changes that have been long due within the industry. While the work put into the creation of this benchmark has been admirable, the job is far from complete. As diversity and inclusion continues to rise in importance across Europe, it will be essential for European organizations to look beyond their own borders for examples of global businesses that are championing diversity and inclusion. We can, and must, learn from one another to take further steps toward the development of best practices and standards that will gradually lead us to a more diverse and inclusive industry,” commented Lonneke Löwik, CEO of INREV (the European Association for Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate: www.inrev.org

NAREIM: “As commercial real estate firms evolve their approach to DEI, the ability to track progress and collaborate becomes increasingly critical – not just within an organization, but across peers, sectors, and the industry as a whole. The Global Real Estate DEI Survey provides a baseline understanding of DEI progress to date. It’s a point from which organizations can measure their own organizational performance – and that of their partners and vendors. However, most importantly, the Survey is about the sharing of best practices. There is no one-size-fits-all solution as to how we improve DEI within commercial real estate. Instead, there are a multitude of ideas that can be shared for the benefit of the entire industry. This DEI Survey is a small collaborative step towards that greater best practice sharing,” said Zoe Hughes, CEO of NAREIM (the National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers: www.nareim.org

NCREIF: “NCREIF is proud to be participating in such an important effort. Having a full industry approach to this survey should ensure a far broader reach than individual efforts. It is great to see the industry unified for the advancement of DEI,” commented Dan Dierking, President of NCREIF (the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries: www.ncreif.org

PREA: “DEI is an increasingly important focus for the real estate investment industry. PREA and many of its members have put substantial efforts into increasing diversity in the industry. But what has been missing is a broad-based effort to establish a baseline to which firms can compare their own diversity programs and accomplishments, and to measure progress in the industry over time. The Global Real Estate DEI Survey will help fill that need and PREA is proud to partner with other like-minded organizations from around the world in this important effort,” said Gail Haynes, President of PREA (the Pension Real Estate Association: www.prea.org

REALPAC: “REALPAC is committed to accelerating the implementation of meaningful Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Indigeneity initiatives across the Canadian commercial real estate industry, and removing barriers to equitable opportunities. We are pleased to be partnering with our sister associations around the globe on this survey – a very important tool in our roadmap to achieving these goals,” said Michael Brooks, CEO of REALPAC (the Canadian Real Property Association: www.realpac.ca

ULI: “ULI is pleased to join this global coalition of real estate organizations in providing a common industry benchmark around DEI. Gaining a deeper level of insight into the status of the entire real estate value chain with respect to DEI metrics, and establishing what those metrics should be, allows all of us to stay on track as we work to accelerate progress toward an industry that better represents the people and values of the communities we serve,” said Ed Walter, Global CEO of the Urban Land Institute. www.uli.org

Note: Between 2017 and 2020, the DEI Survey was conducted by NAREIM and Ferguson Partners and related to employee demographic metrics for real estate investment management organizations and teams in North America only.

The 2020 DEI Survey

Completed by 74 real estate investment management organizations representing more than $2tn of assets under management and 20,000 full-time employees, the DEI Survey 2020 was conducted between September and November 2020 and comprised North America data only.

Key takeaways included:

  • 96% of survey respondents in 2020 said they had a DEI program or initiatives to improve DEI within their organizations.
  • 71% of participants said they dedicated staff to their DEI approach, either with dedicated employees or through committee structures with employees from across business lines, up from just 37% in 2017.
  • Between 2017 and 2020, when NAREIM conducted surveys on DEI within real estate investment management, women and minority executives increased their representation, particularly at executive management and senior levels:
  • By 2020, women had increased their representation at executive management levels by 25%, increasing from 12% in 2017 to 15% in 2020.
  • By 2020, minority professionals had increased their representation at executive management levels by 50%, increasing from 10% in 2017 to 15% in 2020.
  • Among senior level professionals, women represented 30% of executives in 2020, up from 23% in 2017.
  • In 2020, survey respondents said the three most important outcomes from DEI efforts were:
  • A greater number of diverse employees (78% of respondents)
  • More diverse management team (72% of respondents)
  • More women in leadership positions (51% of respondents)

For media inquiries contact Lee Shoquist at [email protected].

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