Recently released figures has 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, growing from 32% at the start of last year, according to Sally Chadwick, executive manager, corporate communications at Mortgage Choice (pictured above).
This tracked slightly higher than industry average, which dropped to 25.4%, according the MFAA Industry Intelligence Service 15th Edition report – the lowest level since the measure was introduced in 2017.
“It was also great to see 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 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.
In 2020, Mortgage Choice’s Aspire program sought to address exactly that and stem the decline in female participation in the mortgage broking industry.
“Firstly, we aim to boost the representation of female brokers in the media by providing media training to our female franchisees,” Chadwick said. “This year, we also offered virtual masterclasses by brand strategist Nicole Hatherly, catering to the development of goals of women in emerging and established businesses.”
Mortgage Choice’s most recent initiative, launched in May, was to develop 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.
Overall, the Aspire program created many opportunities for women in the Mortgage Choice community to connect through national roadshows with keynote speakers and through 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.