A handful of well-known real estate firms have landed on Forbes’ 2020 list of best employers for diversity, with JLL and Century 21 taking the top spots among companies in the property business.
JLL, a massive commercial property firm, was the top-ranked real estate company, landing the overall ninth spot on the list of 500 total employers. Century 21 Real Estate scored the 35th overall spot, putting it in second place among real estate companies — and first among those that focus on residential property.
Quicken Loans had the third highest showing among companies operating in the real estate sector, landing in 85th place, followed by Airbnb, in 149th, and real estate services firm CBRE, in 154th.
Other real estate companies on the list include Century 21 parent Realogy (191), Keller Williams (223) and Coldwell Banker (402).
A number of insurance, banking, vacation and construction companies that have various real estate-adjacent operations also made the list.
Forbes compiled its list — which was published Tuesday — by surveying more than 60,000 U.S. workers at companies with at least 1,000 employees. The survey asked respondents to rate their employers on things like gender, ethnicity and general diversity, among other things.
Software company SAP took first place, with Henry Ford Health System, Procter & Gamble, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Visa rounding out the top five. This is the third year Forbes has compiled such a list.
JLL — which pulled out of a summit earlier this year over concerns about diversity — did not immediately respond to Inman’s request for comment Tuesday.
However, Century 21 president and CEO Michael Miedler told Inman in a statement that being recognized on the list is a testament to the company’s “brokers and managers who create an open environment and culture that is reflective and as diverse as the markets and communities they serve.”
“We are a stronger organization because of our relentless sales professionals who lead by example when delivering personalized experiences to all homebuyers and sellers from all walks of life,” Miedler added.
“Diversity is core to the success of our business, as well as to the success of our affiliated agents and franchisees,” Schneider said, “so it is critically important that we lead by example and show all employees, affiliated agents, owners and customers that we welcome, respect and value them.”
Though the new Forbes list focuses specifically on companies and their workers’ experience, diversity generally has become an increasingly debated subject in the real estate industry of late. In particular, the topic was catapulted into headlines late last year when an investigation from Newsday uncovered widespread bias among real estate agents on New York’s Long Island.
That investigation prompted widespread soul searching within the real estate industry, with some high-profile leaders suggesting it should serve as a wakeup call.
The conversation about diversity in real estate is still ongoing. But responding to Tuesday’s new Forbes list, Realogy chief human resources officer Sunita Holzer argued that there is a strong business case for employers to create more diverse workplaces.
“An inclusive environment,” Holzer said, “helps us attract and promote the best people, deliver innovation and, ultimately, grow our business by better serving the needs of our diverse employees, affiliated agents, owners and the market.”
Update: This post was updated after publication with comments from Century 21 CEO Michael Miedler.
Correction: This post originally stated that Compass appeared on the list. However, the Compass on the list is not the well-known real estate firm but in fact a different company.
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