Re-Energized Diversity Efforts Are in the Works: CPE 100

A new survey of industry leaders sends the message that change is on the way.

The nationwide conversation about diversity is infusing fresh energy into the commercial real estate industry’s approach to the issue, a new CPE 100 Sentiment Survey shows.

Half of executives surveyed see room for improvement, despite major strides in the industry’s efforts. Nearly as many—43 percent—go a step further, saying that the industry’s efforts fall short and should be overhauled. Just 6 percent say that they consider the industry’s current diversity programs to be adequate.

That response is a key finding of the latest CPE 100 Sentiment Survey, which polls an invited group of industry leaders from a wide range of commercial real estate business areas on a quarterly basis.

The CPE 100 also offered telling insights into strategies for enhancing diversity through recruitment. Asked to identify  the channels that they have found to be  effective, the largest number—63 percent—cited employee referrals.

Another approach that earns high marks is bringing young professionals into  commercial real estate at the outset of their careers. Outreach on college campuses was mentioned as an effective strategy by 50 percent of respondents.

Action Plans

In another striking finding, the survey strongly suggests that new measures to enhance diversity are on the way in the commercial real estate industry. The overwhelming majority of respondents—75 percent—say they are already planning to expand their efforts in response to the events of the past several months. An additional 13 percent report that they are taking the preliminary step of reviewing current strategy and will consider changes.

The new CPE 100 Sentiment Survey also provides a snapshot of how executives view current business prospects. Considering the challenges posed to the economy and the industry by the coronavirus crisis, respondents are surprisingly upbeat about the second half of 2020.

More than six out of 10 expect the industry’s overall health to be somewhat better six months from now than it is today. That represents something of a departure from the results of the first 2020 survey, which was conducted in February. At that time, 62 percent expected that conditions would be unchanged in six months.

By significant majorities, the CPE 100 remain optimistic about both the performance of their own companies and what’s ahead for the economy. In all, 69 percent predict that their businesses will be doing better in six months. Of that total, 19 percent go so far as to say that their firm’s performance will be much better.

The results offer an intriguing contrast with the year’s first CPE 100 survey. In early 2020, two thirds of respondents predicted that their company’s performance would be unchanged six months in the future. Those earlier results suggested mild concerns that a possible recession would put a damper on growth, as opposed to the subsequent economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus.

Yet even in the midst of today’s economic challenges, 56 percent of respondents believe that general business conditions will be somewhat better six months from now. Only 13 percent say that they expect the economy to be worse. In this year’s first survey, 69 percent of the CPE 100 predicted business conditions to be unchanged in six months.




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