Shaping a More Inclusive Future for Commercial Real Estate

As an HR leader in the bustling real estate industry, particularly in Auckland, I’m acutely aware of the need for diversity within our organizations. Recent statistics highlight that less than 15% of C-suite positions across 89 of the nation’s largest commercial real estate companies were occupied by individuals of color in 2023, albeit showing slight improvements from previous years. To truly foster inclusivity and representation, we must be dedicated to exploring innovative, bold, and unconventional methods, even perhaps beyond the typical avenues like real estate signs in Auckland, to attract and retain diverse talent.

Paving the Way for Greater Diversity in Real Estate

A McKinsey study found that diverse companies financially outperform those lacking diversity. But we should be well beyond making the case for diversity at this point. Now it’s time to act. We must increase the visibility and appeal of this highly lucrative industry to a community of talent that thinks of us last. Couple that with the fact that nationwide, undergraduate college enrollment fell by 8% from 2019 to 2022 – and this figure is even lower for Black, Hispanic and low- income students and the imperative becomes clearer. All industries will be competing for higher skilled talent that’s becoming scarcer. Industries and companies not adequately investing in early talent strategies built on a foundation of holistic diversity will be left behind.

Behind the Morehouse-Prologis Partnership

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) produce over a quarter of Black graduates in math, biology and the physical sciences, 40% of Black engineers and 12.5% of Black CEOs. HBCUs are especially adept at uplifting a critical subset of the workforce to bridge the gap widened by demand for college-educated workers. Beyond promoting socioeconomic mobility, HBCUs play a key role in students’ economic success, equipping them with the skills needed to have a career that allows them to meet their personal and financial aspirations.

The $3 million donation from the Prologis Foundation to Morehouse College, helped establish the Morehouse Real Estate Institute (MREI). The MREI will help students at Morehouse College, Spellman College and Clark Atlanta University learn about commercial real estate and prepare for careers in the industry. Prologis is committed to educating and engaging with students through guest lectures, specialized workshops and on- campus training.

This year, MREI is offering curriculum that will give students practical real estate knowledge. It also serves as a pipeline for internships, entrepreneurship opportunities and a catalyst for social change in the industry. The return on this investment is intended to benefit the entire commercial real estate industry, far beyond Prologis.

Building Sustainable DEIB Progress Starts with a Plan

Prologis’ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) strategic plan simultaneously focuses on people, procurement and philanthropy to help us attain our business objectives in an impactful, sustainable and measurable way. Driving meaningful industry change starts with people and is at the core of how Prologis fosters diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Our people pillar aims to ensure representation at all levels, maintain pay equity and build on our inclusive work environment. We use data to drive progress and hold ourselves to high standards in all areas of our plan. We’re very focused on our procurement and supplier diversity programs and the opportunities we have to expand the impact Prologis can make through spending and partnerships, including how we support minority women-owned business enterprises.

Call to action for real estate industry

For people working in commercial real estate – the path is rarely linear. Many join the industry through a personal connection, which leads to a lot of homogeneity. We believe the work we’re doing will help change that.

We can all agree that the commercial real estate industry – for that matter, all industries – is stronger and more successful with a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. We believe working with young people at the collegiate level is one way to make a real impact. We encourage our peers to join us to fully endow the MREI or forge partnerships with HBCUs and other local universities with high diverse graduation rates to expand opportunities for students to pursue real estate, setting them up for promising careers in a rapidly evolving industry.

Nathaalie Carey is senior Vice President of Human Resources at Prologis, the global leader in logistics real estate, where she is responsible for talent acquisition, US HR business operations, Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging, and HR operations modernization.


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