JLL announces equity and inclusion programs designed to pave industry change, breaking down barriers and building new connections for diverse talent

CHICAGO, June 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, JLL is announcing several industry-leading initiatives designed to foster greater diversity, inclusion and equity…

CHICAGO, June 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, JLL is announcing several industry-leading initiatives designed to foster greater diversity, inclusion and equity across the commercial real estate (CRE) industry, one of the world’s largest asset classes that’s expected to reach $3.7 trillion in assets by 2025.1 Through a series of bold actions in the U.S., JLL has started its journey to pave the way to meaningful, tangible industry change. 

The company’s new and expanded programs will focus on attracting, developing and retaining diverse talent by targeting systemic challenges in the CRE sector. This includes reducing financial barriers to entry for brokerage and capital markets professionals; expanding early identification programs to recruit more women, underrepresented talent; offering programs and resources that drive inclusion and understanding in the workplace; and consciously seeking diverse supplier and vendor partners. Moving forward, JLL plans to leverage its diversity, inclusion and equity work in the U.S. as a blueprint for taking further broad actions across the globe to accelerate industry progress.

«Commercial real estate has long lagged behind other industries in reflecting the communities it serves. While there’s no easy answer to solving this industry-wide challenge, through our wide-ranging programs addressing recruitment, retention and talent development, we can start to change the industry from within,» said John Gates, CEO, Americas Markets. «The business case for diversity is overwhelmingly evident and has a proven track record in other industries. We’re ready to lead this journey for commercial real estate and accelerate industry efforts to unlock the potential of a more diverse, inclusive workforce.»

«The past year has created an urgency for actionable workplace change that addresses racial inequity and breaks down systemic barriers to entry for all candidates. We believe our holistic approach to diversifying our talent pool will be a catalyst for lasting, transformative industry change,» said Ingrid Jacobs, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion. «JLL’s commitment to D&I truly starts at the top with our Board of Directors – one of the most diverse of all Fortune 500 companies. This, coupled with leadership’s commitment to continue to evolve, were key reasons for why I joined JLL.»

Breaking financial barriers to entry

JLL has launched several programs aimed at making transaction roles more accessible to talent who historically might be deterred from applying due to the CRE industry’s compensation models. Since entrants with newly minted real estate licenses work on commission in most cases, they typically earn a small draw and it takes time to build up a client base for the commissions that come when closing deals. Those in lower socio-economic brackets often are unable to withstand these low base salaries due to other financial responsibilities.

«For college graduates with student loan debt, the commission-based salary structure for transaction sales has proven difficult for many to consider as a first job applicant. And with research suggesting women and people of color graduate with a disproportionate amount of student loans, this means the industry is losing out to a massive talent pool,» said Chris Drew, Co-Head of JLL’s Miami Capital Markets office. «Through our recruitment and talent investment programs, we’re aiming to reach diverse graduates by reducing these financial barriers and inequities to entry, helping ensure they consider transaction roles as a viable career option.»

JLL programs that work to break down financial barriers to enter the CRE industry include:

  • $4 million investment in talent of the future
    • JLL has invested $4 million to fund entry-level compensation for racially diverse and female sales professionals, supplementing the industry’s traditional commission-based salary models.
    • It is used in combination with focused training and development and an assigned mentor to help support the success of program participants in the Tenant Representation, Capital Markets and Agency Leasing businesses.
  • College loan repayment program
    • In the U.S., JLL’s Capital Markets business has begun a college loan repayment program, whereby all new hires for Capital Markets with student loans receive up to $5,000 annually in loan repayment support with a lifetime maximum of $15,000 toward student loan debt.

Fueling a diverse talent pipeline

The changes JLL is making are already having a notable impact this year. In the first five months of 2021, the majority of U.S. hires made across our Capital Markets, Hotels, Leasing and Property Management businesses are diverse.

This year, JLL has also continued to expand its relationships with universities and nonprofit organizations to build a diverse pipeline of future leaders through recruitment efforts and partnerships:

  • Continued focus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) partnerships
    • For more than 10 years, JLL has benefited from campus tours to diversify its talent pool. Most recently, the company joined forces with The HBCU Business Deans Roundtable (HBDR) to expand its impact further through the launch of the JLL Ambitions Fellowship Program. A customized leadership program with the HBDR, the fellowship aims to move beyond traditional requirements such as solely looking at GPA and partners with school deans and administration to select students to participate in the program that increases their awareness of the commercial real estate industry and career opportunities at JLL.
    • Together with Ascending Athletes, a management consultancy that helps former professional athletes make the transition into a new career, JLL is supporting a new 2021 D&I initiative focused on connecting diverse undergraduate and HBCU student athletes with career opportunities. JLL is also participating in the NFL Job Shadow Program, which is designed to give current NFL players a day in the life experience to explore career opportunities virtually.
  • Access to skills training for the next generation of CRE leaders
    • JLL teamed up with the social impact e-learning platform Project Destined (PD) to provide financial literacy, entrepreneurship and real estate training to diverse students. One of the first large brokerage firms to partner nationally with PD, JLL has donated $150,000 to-date to help facilitate national and local programming efforts, including a virtual 8-week real estate internship program for high school and undergraduate students.
    • Teaming up with The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Foundation’s Global Workforce Initiative, JLL is supporting training opportunities for diverse candidates to help close the growing workforce talent gap in facilities management.

Cultivating an inclusive workplace from within

To drive a culture of inclusion, JLL continues to provide employees access to a range of programs and resources focused on building understanding in the workplace. Setting the tone at the top, leadership is also focused on elevating two-way communication to understand how the company is meeting diverse and underrepresented employee needs.

To help address the unique career obstacles diverse candidates often face, JLL offers development opportunities through mentoring, as well as partnering with external organizations to expand its impact. Last summer, the company launched a reverse mentoring program, which pairs diverse employees with executive team members to share their experiences related to topics of strategic and cultural relevance. The program aims to provide transparency, help leaders gain insights into the real experiences of JLL employees, drive cultural change and improve leadership’s understanding of issues facing employees.

Since the program launch, many other business lines have followed this blueprint and developed similar mentoring programs with diverse new hires and existing employees.

For instance, through the Project & Development Services (PDS) Ambassador Program, JLL pairs diverse new hires with a dedicated Ambassador from the business line to serve as a resource during the onboarding process for the first six months of their employment. PDS also offers a Forum for Change program targeted to Black / African American employees spanning recruitment, talent development, education and training.

JLL is also furthering a workplace of inclusion through the Best Buddies Jobs program. Since 2017, JLL has partnered with Best Buddies to advance career opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. JLL currently employs seven individuals through the Best Buddies Jobs program and most recently signed a $50,000 corporate partnership agreement through its Corporate Solutions team with the goal of hiring 24 new employees through the Best Buddies Jobs program in the next 12 months.

Engaging with minority-owned suppliers

As part of JLL’s commitment to doing business with suppliers that respect diversity and inclusion, ethics and human rights, the company has a long-standing Supplier Diversity Program aimed at increasing business opportunities for small and minority-owned businesses. Operating in the U.S., Canada and several countries throughout APAC and EMEA, the program works with nearly 1,000 certified diverse suppliers across construction services, soft facility services, hard facility services and architectural service.

The company plans to continue building on its strong progress in 2020, where JLL spent nearly $1 billion with diverse and small businesses in the Americas alone and aims to increase its spending with minority suppliers to $1.5B by 2025. Additionally, the company will host its fourth annual Supplier Diversity Summit in August to better understand the needs and opportunities of its vendors and partners.

JLL was recently recognized for its D&I leadership by Forbes, who ranked the company #1 on its 2021 America’s Best Employers for Diversity list, underscoring JLL’s ongoing journey to create meaningful, lasting change across its industry, workplace and the communities where it operates.

For more news, videos and research resources on JLL, please visit our newsroom.

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $16.6 billion in 2020, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 91,000 as of March 31, 2021. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit

JLL Contact: Lesley Long


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