As we mark International Women’s Day, the industry is celebrating and recognising the women making waves in the mortgage broking industry.
As well as the 22 women who have recently won Better Business Awards in South Australia, NSW, Victoria and Queensland recently, many other groups have been showcasing the leading women in their networks.
Loan Market executive chairman Sam White said the date was an opportunity for the sector to make the profession more viable for women – particularly noting that recent research from the MFAA has shown that the proportion of female brokers in Australia had fallen from 28.3 per cent in September 2016 to 27.1 per cent of brokers in March 2018.
“Within the broker industry, the MFAA found women were less optimistic about forging a successful career than men. We know this is not an issue confined to broking, but it’s nonetheless something we should be conscious of," Mr White said.
“As everyone knows, brokers work-long hours. We need to have a re-think about how we can better manage the work and non-work commitments of brokers, because if women continue to exit the industry, the profession’s relationship with customers could change.”
However, the industry has ample equal opportunities – given that there is no pay disparity in broking - but the head of Loan Market conceded that disparities did continue in other areas.
Mr White commented: “Today, no industry should be dominated by one gender but we continue to see disparities across many occupations, including broking.
“The industry has just endured a turbulent period, much of which has been outside our control. But what is within our control is a professional environment in which brokers have no barriers to success, irrespective of gender.”
Mr White added that women were well-represented in Loan Market’s executive ranks with females making up 45 per cent of the Australian leadership team, including Lisa Phillips (chief marketing officer), Andrea McNaughton (executive director), Kristy Bartlett (national head of learning and development), Nicole Glen (chief financial officer) and Nicole Ferguson (general manager Victoria).
Mr White said: “The representation of women in executive roles at Loan Market grew organically: the best talent in several of our leadership roles just happened to be these incredible women. And for me, it’s heartening that these ladies recognised Loan Market’s inclusive culture”.
As well as Loan Market, fintech business lender Spotcap has launched a dedicated page on its website with resources and advice for females in business.
The resources include information and experiences from some of Australia’s most prominent female business leaders, founders and CEOs, on accessing business finance, their thoughts on how the gender gap can be overcome and their business advice to other aspiring female business professionals.
Some of the women featured are Kate Carnell, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman; Siobhan Hayden, chief operating officer of online mortgage marketplace, HashChing; Kendall Flutely, founder of online financial education platform Banqer; and Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, founder of female finance publication Financy.
Ms Carnell urged more “female small business owners to help each other”, saying: “Older successful women should mentor younger women in their sector.
“A problem shared is a problem solved.”
Meanwhile Ms Flutely said: “I know I benefit directly from the work of some incredible women who went before me both in tech and business.
“My advice to women in business starting or scaling would be to be fearless, courageous, and don’t only change the world for you but all other female founders after you.”
Linh Bergen-Peters, chief marketing officer of Spotcap, added: "As an industry, we hold the keys to achieving #BalanceforBetter when it comes to improving access to finance for all.
“The time to start the conversation is long overdue.”
International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day, which has been celebrated since 1911, also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
The Adviser will continue its work in supporting and honouring the leading women in the mortgage industry at the Women in Finance Awards 2019, which takes place on 12 September 2019 in Sydney at The Star.
Submissions for the 2019 awards will open on 10 June but you can register your interest now.
[Related: Women brokers on the decline: MFAA]
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Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.