Gender Disparity in Multifamily Leadership

Multifamily Executive has an in-depth article about gender disparity in the executive ranks of the multifamily industry. It’s worth a full read, but here are some highlights:

In a study commissioned by MFE, executive compensation research firm Equilar found that women are shut out of the boards of directors of four of the country’s top 16 multifamily REITs: Blue Rock, BRT Apartments, NexPoint Residential Trust, and Preferred Apartment Communities. The analysis also found that women account for 17.2% of all board members, slightly below the Equilar 500 average of 20.9% female and just above the Russell 3000 average of 16%.

A dive into the 16 REITs’ SEC filings reveals that females are more sparsely represented as named executive officers (NEOs), or the companies’ most highly compensated officers—11 of the 16 had no female NEOs. The same four REITs that have no women on their boards also have no female NEOs…

In addition, while women make almost as much as men when they start out in commercial real estate, their compensation falls well below their peers once they hit 40 and approach the C-suite. Overall, the industry median annual compensation is $115,000 for women and $150,000 for men, CREW found.

So what are the chances that significant progress will be made on gender equity in multifamily? Pretty good once the Boomers start retiring:

“We’ve made a modicum of progress,” says CREW CEO Wendy Mann. “And we still have a long way to go. Really.” She believes transformation is imminent, however, as baby boomers retire in the next five to 10 years, creating “a great departure in male leadership.” She predicts “a huge groundswell of women now in their late 40s and early 50s” will step into the void, pushing companies closer to parity. “Do I think it will be 50–50?” she says. “Maybe not. But I think we’ll see a difference.”