Recently released figures have revealed that Mortgage Choice has above-average female broker representation compared to the rest of the mortgage broking industry.
However, while the Australian broker network’s Aspire program and female-focused recruitment campaign has made inroads towards increasing the number of women brokers, Mortgage Choice concedes that “there is still a long way to go”.
Women make up 35% of Mortgage Choice’s network of more than 1,000 brokers around the country, up from 32% at the start of last year, according to Sally Chadwick, executive manager, corporate communications at Mortgage Choice (pictured above).
This tracked significantly higher than industry average, which dropped to 25.4%, according to the MFAA Industry Intelligence Service 15th Edition report – the lowest level since the measure was introduced in 2017.
“It was also incredibly positive that in 2022, 56% of our new broker recruits were female,” Chadwick said.
Bridging the gap
With only 3,358 female mortgage brokers in Australia out of more than 19,000, it’s little wonder that many in the industry perceive it as male-dominated.
However, data from the MFAA’s latest Opportunities for Women Report, which Mortgage Choice sponsors, showed that awareness of this issue is improving.
In 2018, 22% of male MFAA members believed that women were underrepresented, which increased to almost 35% in 2022 and was a lift of 10% from the 2021 research. Female ‘yes’ responses to this question have also increased to 75% up from 56% in 2021.
Another space where the perception gaps have narrowed between male and female respondents is when asked whether “there is enough promotion of successful diverse role models in the industry”.
Again in 2018, 54% of male members answered ‘yes’ to this question whilst in 2022 45% answered ‘yes’, with an additional 41% who were ‘unsure’.
This compared to just 27% of women who answered, ‘yes’ and a further 46% who were ‘unsure’.
This indicated that both male and female industry members are actively questioning their beliefs and perceptions about representation with increased reflection, awareness, and shifting perspectives.
What is Mortgage Choice doing to help increase female representation in its network?
With the industry’s perception changing, the need to bridge the gap has become even more apparent. However, as the data suggested, there is more that needs to be done to achieve that goal.
Founded in 2020, Mortgage Choice’s Aspire program seeks to increase female participation in the mortgage broking industry and create a more diverse and inclusive culture.
“Among several practical measures we’re taking, we indentified a need to increase the representation of female brokers in the media, so we ran a pilot project to provide media training to some of our female franchisees,” Chadwick said. “This was a really successful program, which resulted in a four-fold increase in female spokespeople in our network,” Chadwick said.
“This year, we also offered a series of virtual masterclasses delivered by brand strategist Nicole Hatherly, catering to the development of goals of women in emerging and established businesses.”
Mortgage Choice’s most recent initiative was the launch in May of a female-focused franchise recruitment campaign to attract more women to Mortgage Choice. Chadwick said that with more than half its latest franchisee recruits being female, the campaign had been a success.
“We know how vital representation is to increasing diversity and inclusion,” Chadwick said.
Additionally, the Aspire program has regularly created many opportunities for women in the Mortgage Choice community to connect through national roadshows with keynote speakers and at local events.
And it seems to be working, with Mortgage Choice female broker numbers growing and 45% of Mortgage Choice franchisees having stayed in the network for over a decade.
“I think it’s a really great industry for women to be getting into and particularly after attending the recent conference and speaking to a lot of the women there,” said Abby Leonard from Mortgage Choice in Bayside in a recent Australian Broker article.
“It’s great to see more females coming in and in a very male-dominated industry. It’s really great to see and it’s something I’m really enjoying.”
What do you think of the level of female representation in the mortgage broking industry? Comment below.