Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives can only achieve optimal success with a united front. All hands must be on deck to ensure that the efforts are created, developed, and permanently sustained. But where in real estate is that sweet spot? Where is that key point where cultural and institutional change must occur? Amongst brokers.
Discrimination, implicit bias, and social justice have all been large topics in real estate and housing over the past few years. The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein and other publications have provided descriptions of racist policies and practices that are deeply rooted in these spaces. Rothstein and many others would, therefore, argue that the real estate industry can—and should—play a significant role in remedying racial injustices. Inman even offers some tips to addressing diversity, equity and inclusion in real estate. But with whom does substantial change or influence happen in our industry? Brokers.
According to census data and a 2020 survey of the Virginia REALTORS®, workers in the real estate industry in Virginia are more likely to be White, compared to the overall workforce.
There is clear underrepresentation in our industry and association; and as is often true in many organizations, the higher the rank/position, the less diversity there is. The most recent member survey reveals a very low percentage of minority brokers amid Virginia REALTORS® members.
Who does the bulk of recruitment of new agents? Who are positioned to ensure there is representation in firms? Who have the ability to create more inclusive environments? Who can best encourage agents to be involved in their REALTOR® Associations? Brokers.
While diversity includes several elements beyond race, the best data we presently have demonstrates the lack of persons of color in the real estate industry—particularly in proportion to the Virginia’s population and workforce. And beyond pure numbers, the Equity and Inclusive factors of DEI are even more important. Brokers’ buy-in and efforts are essential to overall accomplishments and culture change. Virginia REALTORS® is committed to being a diverse, equitable, and inclusive association, but we will not have success without strong partnerships, education, trust, and input from our brokers.