Investing in an Equitable Workplace Where All are Welcome

by Jenny Bean, Chief Human Resources Officer, Duke Realty

Duke Realty is considered a leader in the commercial real estate (CRE) industry — a top industrial REIT with an expansive portfolio across the U.S. As a leader, we have a responsibility to lead in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts. We make significant investments in promoting diversity within our company and in our industry. So, I wanted to know how we are doing.

Jenny Bean, Chief Human Resources Officer

Fortunately, the industry has wonderful organizations that are working to make measurable progress toward more diversity and inclusion, including CREW Network. Additionally, there are organizations working toward more diverse corporate leadership, like Paradigm for Parity®. Duke Realty is aligned with both organizations — signing CREW Network’s CRE Pledge for Action to advance women and DEI and serving as an active member of the Paradigm for Parity coalition dedicated to addressing the corporate leadership gender gap.

I’d like to think we are doing our part to elevate women in our company and our industry, but to know for sure, I needed to look at the data. Here is what I learned. According to CREW Network’s 2020 benchmark study, women occupy 36.7 percent of the CRE industry and only 16 percent of CRE workplaces have 25 percent or more staff that have diverse ethnicities, origins and backgrounds. At Duke Realty, 46 percent of our associates are women and 16 percent are Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).

This same CREW Network benchmark study found that women continue to earn less than men in the CRE industry with a fixed salary gap between genders of 10.2 percent. At Duke Realty, we hold ourselves accountable for assessing pay equity several times during the year to maintain our equitable pay standards. This ensures that any disparities created through hiring, promotion, reorganization, etc., are identified and remedied as quickly as possible. In 2021, we hired a third-party expert to analyze and verify our pay equity initiatives. Our gender pay equity is at 100 percent average percentage of female-to-male total compensation and our racial/ethnic pay equity is at 98 percent average percentage of minority-to-non-minority total compensation.

Women in the Workplace is the largest study on the state of women in corporate America. The 2021 study by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, unfortunately found that for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted, which means there are far fewer women to promote to even higher levels. This same study found that representation of women of color drops off by more than 75 percent between entry level and the C-suite and only about four percent of C-suite leaders are women of color.

At Duke Realty, out of our ten C-suite leaders, two are female and account for decades of experience in their respective fields. Additionally, of the 12 directors on Duke Realty’s board of directors, four are females and two are Black males. In fact, females serve as committee chairs for half of the board’s committees.

So, what is Duke Realty continuing to do to affect real change within the company and its industry? To help promote diversity in the industry and foster a more robust, diverse pipeline of talent, Duke Realty participates in educational programs targeted toward diverse groups of young people and offers scholarships to help students complete their degrees. Internally, our talent pipeline and mentorship programs have allowed us to identify experienced, high-performing associates for leadership development. We have increased the number of women and people of color in leadership roles. In fact, in 2021, 52 percent of our top and mid-level new hires companywide were women or people of color.

It will take time to see the results of our work in top leadership positions. In the meantime, we continue to elevate our talented female associates and allow them to share their knowledge and experience through mentorship, industry speaking engagements, trade organization leadership roles and simply recognizing their value to our company and our industry.

If other companies and industries take similar steps, perhaps the next generation will enter truly equitable workplaces where all are welcome and valued.