From marketing to making deals: Black LandQwest broker talks about breaking into ‘least diverse industry in the world’

From marketing to making deals: Black LandQwest broker talks about breaking into ‘least diverse industry in the world’
Brian Watson, an associate with LandQwest Commercial Orlando, started his real estate career around five years ago (JIM CARCHIDI/Orlando Business Journal)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Editor’s note: This story is available as a result of a content partnership between WFTV and the Orlando Business Journal.

Brian Watson wanted to try something new after working at Fortune 500 companies for most of his career.

So the Orlandoan figured he'd give real estate a shot.

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But that's not the easiest thing to do for people who are black, as the U.S. real estate industry both locally and nationally struggles to recruit people who aren't white. In fact, real estate was called the "least diverse industry on the planet" by an August 2013 NAIOP report called Focus: Employment in Commercial Real Estate Industry.

Nationwide, more than three-quarters of commercial real estate senior executives are white men, NAIOP reported, though it didn’t break down figures to the local level. Black males held 1.3% of these jobs in the nation and black females held less than 1%, the data showed. White men hold 68.9% of commercial real estate mid-level manager jobs and 58.5% of commercial real estate professional jobs.